Letters From Customers
Reading Upgrade Helps Texas 3rd Graders Avoid Retention
A teacher at a Texas elementary school put the Reading Upgrade online course to work helping 3rd graders facing retention to improve their TAKS test scores. Each at-risk student received one-on-one intensive instruction with Reading Upgrade in a one-month session in June 2006. After the session, students repeated the TAKS test to avoid retention. Here is a letter from the teacher:
We are completing our program this week, and I want to take this special time to let you know that without you, we didn't have a possible chance to pass our TAKS test. We took the test on Wednesday, the 27th of June, and I feel our students did a fantastic job in taking the test.
Teenager with Learning Difficulties Makes 3 Years Growth With Comprehension Upgrade
I am writing to let you know what a tremendous difference your Comprehension Upgrade has made in our family’s life, particularly for my 15-year-old son, Devon.
Devon has historically had difficulties with reading comprehension. He was first tested in 3 rd grade for learning disabilities, and was identified with difficulties processing written and spoken language. He had a hard time understanding the “main point” of paragraphs and stories, and couldn’t follow complex instructions. For the next two years, he was pulled out of class twice weekly for special help. He consistently missed class time, which put him further behind, and his self-esteem dwindled as the years went on. He was terrified of asking “stupid questions,” and was convinced that he was, in fact, “stupid.”
This downward spiral caused me to begin homeschooling both of my sons after Devon completed 5th grade. I realized he is very much a visual learner, and I’ve tried to cater more to that learning style, while still helping him to exercise his comprehension and listening “muscles” with a variety of books and programs. He regained self-confidence and proficiency in most subject areas other than Reading Comprehension. He continued to test low in this area. In May 2006, on his 8th grade annual assessment, Devon scored a 5-6th grade Reading Comprehension level.
In frustration, I came home and searched on the Internet for something new. Most of the “reading comprehension programs” are really just stories with questions. Finally, I found Comprehension Upgrade. The program appeared to teach verbal skills visually, which I hadn’t seen before. You claimed to be able to bring him up two letter grades. “Yeah, right,” I thought to myself, but figured we should at least try. We enrolled in the Free Trial, and even though Devon thought the speaker sounded “kinda goofy” with his over- pronunciation, he enjoyed the trial lessons and agreed to give it a shot.
We started in the fall. Devon worked slowly but surely, completing 1-2 lessons per day, three times per week. He would sit down at the computer and use headphones, so he could focus totally. He worked for probably 30 minutes per day, as he had a lower tolerance than the suggested hour per day. Some days, he’d get frustrated because he’d get wrong answers time and again, so I’d tell him to just take a break. But despite some frustration, he enjoyed the program itself with its flashy animations and funny “hip” songs. After a couple of months, he earned the Bronze Award. He was so proud! Over the next months, he earned the Silver and finally, the Gold Award, bringing up all of his lesson scores to 95% or higher!
I am happy to report that in May, 2007 on his assessment to complete 9th grade, Devon tested at a 9th grade level on Reading Comprehension! He has brought up his scores by 3-4 letter grades with Comprehension Upgrade in six months, and is now at grade level for the first time in his life! I can’t tell you what that test score meant for Devon, and for me. He was so proud to earn that. And I know for a fact that your program is what helped him achieve that grade.
He understands how to approach research now. He has a plan for understanding what he’s reading. He now knows exactly what reference books he needs for what situation. He knows how to map out a variety of information in a meaningful way. Most importantly, he can retain information now. It’s like a miracle for him.
As a parent, I want you to know how much we appreciated the reports and the awards. It meant so much to him to be able to print out those awards, because it gave him tangible evidence of his success. And since I could print out the reports, I could see EXACTLY where he was doing well or struggling. The program itself gives students so many tools to use in school, and the tools are presented in a totally visual/interactive way.
As I mentioned, Devon is a visual learner, and I don’t think visual or kinesthetic learners get as much attention in the public education system. Our schools tend to be geared for verbal learners, maybe because many verbal learners grow up to teach. But Comprehension Upgrade brings concepts to life with their “hip” Flash animations, songs, and loud, slow
speaking. These concepts have been behind a locked door for Devon up to this point, and now they are suddenly opened up to him. We honestly can’t thank you enough for developing this program. It has far-exceeded my hopes and was worth every penny of its cost. I ended up buying it for my other son, as well. We also hope to try out your new Math Upgrade as soon as we can. Your programs are gifts from heaven for children who have had difficulties with any sort of language processing difficulties. It is made for the visual and kinesthetic learners of the world, who mistakenly often believe they are “not good at school.” You give them a chance to succeed.
Thank you so much for your fantastic work!
Marysville , WA
Third Grader No Longer In Special Education After Reading Upgrade
My daughter Rachel's reading was at the first grade level despite being nine years old. The Child Study Team at her school determined that she should be placed in a special educational class. As a parent I believed that they had all the good intentions of teaching my daughter so she could be placed back in the mainstream. Two years went by and Rachel was still in this special class and still at a very low reading level. In April of 2003, Rachel was evaluated by the Child Study Team and they said that she was very behind in her reading and that she should go through all of her school years in a special educational class. As a mother, I was not going to let them classify my only daughter and deprive her of a real education. I realized that I was the only one that could help my daughter.
I began searching through the Internet for some type of guidence until I came across many reading programs. The Reading Upgrade was the only one that had a demo that Rachel could try out. Since the beginning she loved the songs and bright colors. Since I saw Rachel's great progress in reading I asked the school to reaevaluate her and that is when they realized that she had learned to read through this great program. Within 3 weeks Rachel jumped to a third grade reading level!
I am so very greatful that there are people
like Learning Upgrade's staff that understand the struggles
both the child and parent go through. This program should
be used nation wide and in every school. I have personally
given the Child Study Team all of the
information about Reading Upgrade so all children could get the opportunity to really learn. I want to thank you in a million ways and I hope that you could continue to do more programs for
every reading level. Rachel is looking forward to your new Comprehension Upgrade program.
Thank you very much
Nine Year Old LD Child Celebrates After Completing Reading Upgrade
I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for the wonderful program that you have made available for individuals that struggle with reading. I searched the internet for a product for many months before I decided on Reading Up-grade. My daughter Kimbree is 9 years old and in the third grade. It was evident to me since age two that she would be challenged with learning disabilities. It has been a long hard road to try to determine how best to help her and we have tried many different things. She began Reading Upgrade last year and over the course of the last 8 months she has persisted through the program.
Today she finished lesson fifty and was able to print her Certificate of Achievement. There have been many rewarding experiences along the way as we have celebrated her accomplishments together, but today was especially rewarding for her as she danced around the house with her certificate saying “I did it, I can read!” This program is wonderful and I am truly grateful for the individuals that have invested their time to put it together. Kimbree learns best when interacting with the computer, the bright colors kept her focus and the music added so much energy to the program that she never got tired of working through each level. We enjoyed the challenge of going back and reviewing each level until Kimbree passed each level with 100%. Kimbree gained so much more than I imagined from this program, she not only learned to read but she learned persistence and determination.
Thank you again for this wonderful tool!
Sincerely, K. Brower
Reading Upgrade Helps 11 Year Old With Hyperlexia
I am a parent of an eleven year old child diagnosed with hyperlexia. Hyperlexia is a relatively new diagnosis and is characterized by a precocious reading ability, signifcant difficulty understanding and using verbal language, and difficulty with social interaction. Even though my son can read quite well orally his reading comprehension lagged behind.
One of the interventions to help him with his language disability was to work on reading for meaning. I was told by the professionals that there was a direct link between reading comprehension and increased use of language. Reading upgrade was a tool to help him with that.
Hyperlexic children, including my son, learn to read using the memorization of the whole word method. It was very interesting to hear my son's speech therapist say I bet he never learned to read this way.(MEANING PHONICS) .He was learning another way to read. Interesting, the teachers at school had a different reaction. My son's use of speech increased in school and at home as well. As foretold the Reading Upgrade helped my son's understanding and use of language. Reading Upgrade has had a big impact on my child.
High School Student Thanks Teacher For Reading Upgrade
I found the following note in my box this
morning (with a hand-drawn picture of a computer on the
I am just writing this short note to thank you for all the hard work that you do for helping me to be a better student. I really appreciate what you did for me, I think that if I wouldn't of join the Reading Upgrade program I wouldn't of been doing so good as I am right now in English.
PS. Jose made 3.4 years of growth with the program :)
(from teacher Sarah McNary, La Costa Canyon High School, Carlsbad California)
ADHD Student Makes Rapid Gains With Reading Upgrade
My Son Nathan is an African American male that has been diagnosed with ADHD from the age of 6 years old. At the age of 6 Nathan was given a complete battery of testing by a licensed Psychologist and it was discovered that he had an above average IQ for his age and did not possess any learning disabilities. He however was diagnosed with a severe case of hyperactivity. Through medication and counseling Nathan has been able to focus and begin to learn in a traditional academic setting. Because of the severity of his inability to focus he was not learning and many teachers felt that he was mentally incapable of learning with other students. Once he received a diagnosis and began taking medication the task of his learning has become easier. However, due to class size, and the ADHD, Nathan does not grasp many concepts immediately and needs a lot of re-enforcement at home. However, once Nathan learns the concept his learning ability soars. Classroom these days do not allow for the teacher to focus and concentrate on students whom cannot readily grasp concepts. Each year helping my son to stay on course is a task. I am always looking for new and innovative techniques to help reinforce my sons learning at home.
This year Nathan possessed a particular challenge. He has entered into the fifth grade and is reading below grade level. After all of the phonics work he has received early on I was surprised that he was consistently scoring low on the school standardized testing. Upon entering the fifth grade I had Nathan tested in reading and math. In Reading Nathan scored a 3.4 and in Math a 3.6. I panicked and felt that I needed to do something drastic to get Nathan’s scores on the Fifth grade level. I began researching lots of different programs. I was really going to think about utilizing Sylvan or Kumon. However, I wanted to be apart of my son’s learning process and not hand him over to yet another tutoring program. I wanted to understand for myself where he was having trouble. Most important, I wanted to begin preparing Nathan to take the Georgia Standardized CRCT Test which, if Nathan does not pass, he will not be able to exit the Fifth Grade. As I began to research tools to help Nathan your programs were highly recommended by a teacher whom had developed a web-site to assist the parents and students in her class. I went on line and tested out your programs. I immediately feel in love with the songs, and the ability of the computer to talk to you. I had my son try out the reading upgrade demo and he really enjoyed it.
I must say that initially I was hesitant to pay the two hundred dollars, that was until I talked to you. When you returned my phone call you asked lots of questions about my son and the problems I felt he was experiencing. You were knowledgeable and a wealth of information. I thoroughly enjoyed engaging in a conversation with someone whom was willing to talk to me and consult me on the approach to take with my son. Nathan as you know has taken your reading upgrade course and is now on lesson 9 of the comprehension upgrade.
At school, I have been asking for my son to be transferred from the classroom in which he is in a EIP early intervention program that is a class with 14 children that receive specialized attention without being in a Special Education environment. I felt that Nathan has not been challenged enough and needed to be placed in a different environment. In order to accommodate my request the school administration re-tested Nathan in Reading and Math. I am happy to report that only after 4-5 weeks of working with your program Nathan has achieved a 5.6 in Reading (from a 3.4) and has a achieved a 5.2 in Math (from a 3.6) I walked away from the conference proud of Nathan and myself for exerting the effort and for once in life seeing tremendous academic progress. The teacher and administrators were astounded with Nathan’s progress. I was so excited I could not wait to call you and report Nathan’s progress. I am subsequently wring this letter to you in order to help parents that are struggling to help their children. I have seen my son’s confidence soar and the pride he takes in himself by knowing how to read and comprehend at an entirely different level. Last week he came home bragging about a Social Studies Assignment in which he had to read the essay and answer 5 questions. He missed one question and received an 80, the highest grade in the class.
Thank you and your staff for developing a tools that are making a difference in my child’s life. Speaking with you and discussing my son’s reports show me the commitment, passion and desire you have in equipping individuals to obtain skills that can create success. The passion and dedication comes through on every aspect of the product, from the great songs, interesting activities and the deliberate thought in creating characters of different genders and ethnicities. I applaud you and your products. Thank you for the investments of time, attention detail and commitment you place in your products. May your company continued to be blessed and prosperous!
Peace and Blessings,
S. D. Ward, PhD
Grandfather Learns To Read At Home With Upgrade Courses
A grandfather came to Project Turn Around in Dallas, TX wanting to learn to read, with a goal of one day reading to his grandchild. His PTA teacher enrolled him in Reading Upgrade, and he completed the lessons AT HOME on his own computer, sometimes playing for hours each day. He then moved on to Comprehension Upgrade, and completed all 50 lessons. He also attended classes at PTA with solid attendance. Then, he repeated the lessons until he had 100% scores on EVERY (all 100) LESSON in the two courses!
His teacher, as his gift for his accomplishment, gave him a book about a grandfather and grandchild, to read to his grandson. He is now entering the GED program at PTA highly motivated to finish with his diploma.
From R Haynes, PTA Dallas