From Practice to Success
'Tomorrow's victory is today's practice.' - Chris Bradford
by Nora Chahbazi
Practice, effort, and work are necessary to get to the ‘prize’, the success that comes as a result of fortitude. The value of these should never be ignored or underestimated as success stories are not possible without these components.
Understandably, we’re all enthralled with success stories. They’re uplifting and motivating! Typically the nitty gritty day to day struggles that lead to those successes are not newsworthy so we can often forget about blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting to the finish line.
It’s not necessarily easy, glamorous, or interesting to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep your eye on the ball. Many of our clients as well as students learning EBLI in schools can experience this process at an intense level.
Grant Garman is a sweet, sports loving, compassionate client of ours who started at Ounce of Prevention at the end of 2014 when he was in 3rd grade. At that time, reading was torturous as opposed to enjoyable for him. In spite of that, he has been unwavering with his diligence and dedication to the process of improving his reading!
Since he began working with Shannon, Grant’s reading fluency improved from reading 33 words with 8 errors to reading 91 words with 0 mistakes. His DRA level at school was 15 when he started and was 34, the expected level for his grade, by the end of 3rd grade.
When he started with Shannon, Grant was very quiet, polite, and exceptionally shy. He had significant anxiety about testing and being put in the spotlight. He’d had negative experiences repeatedly with reading and with timed reading assessments in school. EBLI was not easy for Grant at first. Reading for only a few minutes made his eyes hurt and was stressful. However, he’s stuck with it, giving his all every session. His wonderful parents have been diligent about supporting him and advocating for him.
Throughout 4th grade and the summer, Grant has continued his EBLI sessions. He is always engaged in the instruction and is reading and writing more at home. He’s also going through Interactive Metronome, a program to increase processing speed, decrease anxiety, and improve timing and rhythm as well as attention and focus. He loves the competitive component of the program (competing against himself) and is intrigued that it will help him with sports as well as academics.
While Grant’s anxiety has not completely abated, it continues to decrease as his reading ability and confidence increase. Recently he began reading independently at home instead of just reading to his parents. Being a gifted athlete himself, Grant is interested in reading about sports. He’s especially interested in Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors!
Grant is approaching 5th grade with excited anticipation. His hard work and willingness to endure the mental and emotional growing pains that come with improving his reading are commendable! As he moves up to a new school, he is looking forward to the adventure thanks in part to his newfound confidence in himself and his literacy abilities.
Since he began working with Shannon, Grant’s reading fluency improved from reading 33 words with 8 errors to reading 91 words with 0 mistakes.
Students often go to great lengths to hide any weaknesses they may have. Strategies to deflect focus on this range from playful joking and diverting with storytelling to shutting down or lashing out. The weakness that is being covered up is often a source of deep pain. Facilitating a breakthrough can take an hour or a year or longer. It is a process! As a parent or educator, we recommend that you continue respectfully addressing weaknesses with consistent repetition, using strategies that work, in order to turn that weakness into a strength.
Grant has been a perfect example of what this persistent learning looks like and Shannon’s love infused teaching has facilitated his consistent growth. He exemplifies what it means to ‘keep your eye on the ball’, even though every once in a while it might hit you in the eye (as happened to him in baseball!). We applaud Grant for his willingness to stick with it and to celebrate all the small victories along the way to the big prize. His transformation has been delightful to watch and he is a fantastic example of the motto ‘never give up’.
As a new school year starts, it's fitting to celebrate amazing learners like Grant who realize that reaching their academic goals may be more of a marathon than a sprint. Either way, they are committed to seeing it through, reaping the rewards of their dedication and hard work!
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