Craig’s Journey

Craig’s Journey


Craig is an adult- around 32 years old- who never learned to read. As a child he was put into a class for children with special needs, and amongst other things, his mother was told that he is dyslexic. His father died when he was young, and his mother, a widow with 3 children, had no real help or guidance from the school. They were living in Botswana at the time. As a result, he left school at a young age and never learned to read. At some point his aunt taught him the alphabet, and he developed a really good memory. About 2 years ago his aunt asked me if I could teach him to read.


I knew it was going to be a challenge. Teaching adults to read takes patience and perseverance- from both the teacher and the student. I did some research online- which I found to be time-consuming and not particularly helpful.

After much trial and error and experimentation, Craig can decode easy 3 or 4 letter phonetically spelled words, and can recognize some sight words. But, as I expected, sight words are the most difficult words for him to recognize and remember. So I have been constantly searching for methods or resources that we can use.


Since seeing the Fun Schooling dyslexia books at our recent Homeschooling Dyslexia Conference I have been convinced that this is what I have been looking for. Although the books are written for children, I remember Alene saying that they work for all ages. So I have bought the Dyslexia Series A books, and we started using them 2 days ago.

I have decided to document our progress and my observations in the hope that it will motivate me to carry on as I see progress, and also to hopefully help others who might be helping a dyslexic person- especially an adult.

Every week I hope to post an update on our progress. Note that I say OUR progress, as Craig and I are in this together. I am learning from him what works for him and I need to help him to learn while he has to put in the effort of practice and concentration. And I celebrate his milestones with him.


15 April 2022

I thought of giving Craig 2 pages from each of the 6 books in the series and see how it goes. However, after speaking to Alene we will not do this in future, but work through each book in sequence as each book builds on the previous one and increases I difficulty.


But this is what we did and what I observed:

  1. Craig finished 2 pages from Art First and Puzzling Patterns, as well as one page from Letter Challenge.
  2. He took the work very seriously and tried hard to copy the pictures exactly.
  3. Book 3 was extremely challenging for him; much more than I expected. He was exhausted by the end of our 45-minute lesson. Which just proves what Alene said about the books increasing in difficulty.
  4. I started realizing just how difficult it must be for a person with dyslexia to complete tasks that I can do quickly and without even thinking about it.


I was originally just going to work through some pages with him once a week, but Alene has impressed upon me that consistency is very important, and he needs to do about 2 pages per day. So as from next week he will be getting “homework”. The beauty of these books is that he can do it by himself since he does not have to read any instructions. The pictures are self-explanatory.


So on Saturday we will tackle the next few pages, and I will post an update.


Written by Francesca Venter

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