I recently wrote an article about Dr. Stephen Guffanti entitled, “Dr. Guffanti Changed the Way I Teach.” I attended his workshop at the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) Convention and Family Conference in August. Dr. Guffanti shared his experiences as a person growing up with ADHD and dyslexia. Additionally his career as a doctor allowed him time to work with similar children.
None of my children have ADHD, but most are highly kinesthetic learners. I have honestly shared the fact that two of my children have been diagnosed with dyslexia. At first, I used The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald Davis as my main resource. We worked through his activities, including re-learning the alphabet with homemade gluten-free letters.
His book helped me understand dyslexia better. The best result after using his book is that both of my children see their dyslexia as a gift. They are not embarrassed nor do they think less of themselves. They both enjoy being different and seeing things from a different perspective.
On the cover of Dr. Guffanti’s book, Does Your Child Really Have ADHD?, there is an illustration of a square-shaped child trying to fit into a round hole. As a home educator, I have the freedom to create the right environment for my child to learn and succeed. To many times when a child does not fit the average-sized hole, they get labeled. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a parent and/or educator, we need to approach things differently.
As I strolled through the vendor booths at the THSC convention, the last thing on my mind was phonics. I knew that one of my children was still struggling to read, but I did not know what to do about it. I went to Dr. Guffanti’s booth in order to express my gratitude for his lecture. I met his wife, Maureen.
She inquired about my children. After asking me several specific questions regarding dyslexia, she showed me Rocket Phonics, which she created along with her husband with kinesthetic and/or dyslexic learners in mind. After seeing all the fun activities, games, presentation of materials, etc., I was sold.
I really liked the fact that they have a system for encouraging independent reading. They include reading comprehension questions at the end of each story. There are also oral tests to show mastery of a reading level unit. Upon your purchase, they send out emails full of additional information, tips, games, and stories to help reinforce the lessons. The Guffantis are also available to answer questions, but I have never felt the need because the program is so well-laid out.
My son started at the beginning, which was lower than his reading level. In doing this, he gained confidence and really had fun with the activities. We gradually graduated to a higher level at his pace. I am so proud of him. After years of trying to get him on his grade level, he has surpassed this goal. In just six months of using Rocket Phonics, he is now above his age level.
We are both very excited. He is now considered functionally literate, which is between 5th and 7th grade levels. His main motivation to reach this level is being able to read Hank the Cowdog books independently. Thank you, John Erickson, for writing such great books and inspiring reading.
My daughter is finishing the last section of the program called “Beyond Rocket Phonics.” It focuses on suffixes, prefixes, and root words. It also covers the pronunciation of words with French and Spanish origins. Seeing the success of Rocket Phonics, I cannot wait to use it with my younger boys in a few years. All in all I am getting far more back than what I spent on the program.
Finding a reading program that is easy to use is hard. Finding one that your student enjoys is even more difficult. Finding one that is geared to kinesthetic and/or dyslexic learners is almost impossible. This is why I consider Rocket Phonics priceless.