sharon's blog

The Marathon Runner & Dyslexia

You know how, when you're planning a trip to the back of beyond, suddenly everyone you speak to has travelled there? Well, over and over again, when I mention to adults the mission of Windy Row Learning Center, they tell me about their own or a family member's struggles with reading.

Dyslexia is now discussed in newspapers like The New York Times and in magazines like Southwest Airline's Spirit. In the August 2012 issue, marathon runner John Bingham stated, "I've completed 45 marathons and countless half marathons. Despite having dyslexia, I've written several books, all of them about running."

He  continues, "All of the failures of my life were rectified by succeeding in finishing the marathon."

In many ways, for a child with dyslexia or another reading challenge, every school day is a marathon, but one that ends in failure after failure.

At Windy Row Learning Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire, we turn failure into success. We meet the challenge of reading side by side with the children we see. Those children may at first be skeptical of their ability to finish but we keep step with their progress, ensuring that each new milestone is celebrated and becomes a strong foundation for the next step.

For children with dyslexia or any other reading or math challenge, Windy Row tutors have many ways to help ensure that the marathon is won. Please email or phone us at 924-7198.

Windy Row at the Peterborough Wellness Festival

Every year, Windy Row Learning Center participates in the Wellness Festival in Peterborough, New Hampshire where our tutoring program is based.

This year the Wellness Festival will be held on September 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Center on Elm Street in Peterborough.

The Wellness Festival is great fun, with participants ranging from the tooth fairy to chiropractors and massage therapists and on to senior retirement homes. They answer questions, pass out information, run raffles and fill the hall with laughter and friendship.

Windy Row returns year after year because there is always a parent, grandparent, teacher or friend who is wondering if a child might benefit from our after-school tutoring program. We also meet potential board members and educators, as well as letting the community know about our program so that they can spread the word. The more children we help, the better.

Please come visit the Windy Row booth at the Wellness Festival. We look forward to seeing you!

Tutors for Reading and Math: Enroll Your Child Now

Is your child one or more grade levels behind in reading or math?

Is your child struggling with concepts such as first to last, large to small and alphabetical order?

Does your child have difficulty following game directions that other children seem to handle without trouble?

Has your child's teacher or pediatrician or another concerned adult wondered if your child might have a reading or math challenge?

Windy Row Learning Center can help in two ways:

  • We will evaluate your child to see if our specialized tutoring program would help.
  • If appropriate, we will set up a schedule of one-hour, twice a week tutoring sessions, based on the Orton-Gillingham method and other nationally recognized programs.

Our professionally trained tutors are ready to help you. Because we are a nonprofit, we can offer financial aid and scholarships. We never push our program. Our goal is to give every child who needs help the gift of reading.

Please contact us today at 924-7198 or info [at]

"She'll Grow Out of It" and Other Misconceptions about Reading Challenges

Well-meaning family members, friends and even teachers may try to calm your worried about your child's reading (or math) challenges with one of the following statements:

  • "She'll grow out of it." If your child is behind grade level in reading, the chances are she will not grow out of it, especially if she is already in or beyond 3rd grade. As we often say at Windy Row, up until 3rd grade children are learning to read; after that, they are reading to learn. If your child cannot read at grade level, she cannot learn at grade level.
  • "He would be fine if he just paid more attention." If your child is beginning to show behavioral problems or is considered "borderline ADD," the cause could be a reading disability. Sitting in a room day after day with no idea of what is going on is very frustrating. Your child may not say, "I can't read and I'm bored," but you should look into the possibility.
  • "She is a slow learner." The children who come to Windy Row show creativity, intelligence and the ability to understand everything that is said to them; but they can't put their ideas into writing and they can't read. Their reluctance to read or write or even admit to a reading problem may make them appear to have other issues, including slow processing speed and developmental delays.
  • "Reading isn't his thing." Many children are slow to or never develop a love of reading--that's okay if they have reading skills. But if your child avoids reading aloud, can't read the same word twice in the same sentence, is unable to clearly write a simple note, and cannot retain the information he reads, he may have a reading challenge like dyslexia.

If your instincts as a parent tell you that these well-meaning excuses are masking a real problem, please info [at] (contact) Windy Row Learning Center. As a nonprofit, our first goal is to help children. We have financial aid available.

Back to School: Windy Row Helps to Make It Better

Many parents reach out to us at this time of year to find out about Windy Row Learning Center's afterschool program. They know how difficult the previous school year was for their child, and they want to ease the situation for the coming year. Here are some of the most frequent questions we receive:

Q. My child was never diagnosed with dyslexia or dyscalculia. Is that okay?

A. Yes. We test at Windy Row to find out where exactly your child is having trouble with reading or math but we do not ask for an official diagnosis. If our program can help and we know where your child is struggling, it doesn't matter if you have a medical diagnosis. But doctors do refer their parents to us, as do teachers, psychologists and other parents.

Q. How expensive is your program?

A. We have a sliding scale based on income and we also have financial aid. Currently, the full cost works out to $55 for each one-hour session. If you would have difficulty paying this fee, please speak to us; your income may qualify you for a lower rate and we do have scholarships.

Q. How often will my child have to go for tutoring?

A. We schedule each child for 2 one-hour sessions each week, either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. There are 50 one-hour tutoring sessions in a school year.

Q. What if my child refuses to go?

A. Sometimes children believe no one can help them and they do not want to fail again. Our tutors have experienced this reluctance over and over again; and the children always end up eager to return to Windy Row. We have highly trained and compassionate tutors who are endlessly inventive and really truly like children--all children.

If you have any questions, please info [at] (email) us or call 603-924-7198. Our tutors are ready to help your child now.

Processing Speed and Dyslexia

Dyslexia is generally assumed to involve "phonological processing" or the ability to attach sounds to letters and words. Children with dyslexia have difficulty with phonological processing; there is a disconnect between the brain's seeing a word (visual) and recognizing its sound (verbal). The Orton-Gillingham method and others like it stress multisensory methods of stimulating the brain and working around this disconnect, improving phonological processing phoneme-by-phoneme.

But some researchers believe that dyslexia is also related to a "processing speed deficit" or an inability to quickly analyze letter and word patterns. Some children with dyslexia may recognize phonemes and still be unable to read efficiently because the connection between sight and sound is so slow. This possibility has led some researchers to develop video "games" specifically designed to increase a child's processing speed. The American Pyschological Society has an interesting online article on this research.

info [at] (Windy Row Learning Center) understands that each child's dyslexia and each child's experience with reading is different. We move forward one step at a time, to make sure that a child is making progress and that we are concentrating on the areas where the child is struggling the most.

Math Tutoring: Dyscalculia

Just two years ago, Windy Row added math tutoring to our program, using internationally recognized programs. The fit is logical. Many math problems are, first and foremost, reading problems; and many of the same challenges faced by readers (difficulty in sequencing, difficulty in associating symbols with their meanings) are also challenges in math.

Recently the National Center for Learning Disabilities came up with a list of Six Facts About Math. The article helps explain learning disabilities in math (known as dyscalculia) and what parents can do. As with reading challenges, early detection is important. Among early signs of a math problem are difficulties in:

  • Learning to say numbers in order
  • Matching a number (4) with that number of objects (4 cars)
  • Organizing objects by shape (a group of squares and a group of circles)
  • Understanding what is meant by "more than" or "less than"
  • Understanding the passage of time

Windy Row Learning Center is here to help you understand whether your child has a math challenge and what type of help is available. Please info [at] (contact) us.

Delaying Kindergaren? Homeschooling? Let Windy Row Help

Parents want the best for their children, and it is painful to watch a child with dyslexia or other reading problems struggle through school, becoming more and more discouraged. Often a parent who is concerned about their child will delay kindergarten or turn to home schooling.

While these options may work for a child, sometimes all they do is delay help and prolong the problem. At Windy Row Learning Center, we tutor children from pre-school through ninth grade, and we know that the earlier we see a child, the better.

If your child has problems with rhyming words, cannot grasp the alphabet song or other sequences, has a family history of reading or academic challenges, or cannot follow games that other children his or her age can follow, please contact us. Any one of these problems may not be significant; but any cluster is worth checking out.

Whether or not you delay kindergarten or home school, please consider Windy Row Learning Center your partner in helping your child. Children with dyslexia and other reading challenges can learn to read at grade level, and the earlier they are helped, the more profound the benefit.

If you are worried because your child isn't ready for or thriving in school, please info [at] (contact )Windy Row Learning Center today. For more information about reading challenges, you may want to visit us on Twitter.

Public/Private Schools and Windy Row Learning Center

When parents bring a child to Windy Row, they add a partner to home and school in helping their child learn to read.

Windy Row is an afterschool tutoring program for children who are behind grade level in reading and/or math. Our program attracts students from throughout the Monadnock Region from both private and public schools. Teachers often refer students to us; in fact, we've had referrals from schools as far away as Massachusetts.

In addition our 1-in-10 program for early detection of dyslexia and other reading challenges has been welcomed by school districts as a professional development program for teachers. And our tutor training program annually attracts teachers who receive Continuing Education Units from Keene State College.

Our specialized, one-on-one tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham and other internationally known methods brings children the joy of reading--a joy that teachers and school districts believe in with all their hearts.

We make sure that each child receives the individualized program that will bring the most benefit. info [at] (Let us partner with you and your child).

"Underneath These Struggles Is a Highly Intelligent Child"

If you have every felt alone in your struggles to help a child with dyslexia or other reading challenges, please read the wonderful Mother's Day blog by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.

Although this article focuses on the influence of mothers, we have found that adults with dyslexia all speak with deep gratitude toward that one person in their lives who said the right thing at the right time. It might be a mother, father, teacher, tutor, boss or someone else. What sets parents apart is their willingness to advocate for their child no matter what anyone says and no matter if they ever receive recognition. They know they are opening doors for their struggling child to hear the words that will give encouragement and hope.

Windy Row Learning Center works closely with parents and educators to support children both with the tutoring they need and the encouragement and they want with all their hearts.

If you know a child who is struggling with reading (or math), please info [at] (contact) us today.

Our 4-4-4 summer camp and individual summer tutoring schedules are filling up. Please phone us at 603-924-7198 if you are interested in summer help for your child.


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