Stowell Learning Center

My Child’s Spelling is Atrocious. What Does it Mean?

I have some avid game players in my extended family, so when we get together for the holidays, we play all kinds of games, particularly word games, of which my mom is a wizard! For a dyslexic child or adult, word games can be an absolute nightmare. I met a neurosurgeon once who shared with [...]

At Wit’s End is a Lonely Place to Be.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear this phrase! “We’re spending 4 hours a night in tears over homework.  I’m at my wit’s end!” “I see how hard she tries, but no matter how much we study, she still fails her tests.  I’m at my wit’s end.” “My son hates to read and [...]

Rrrrrr….This is my “Reading Face”

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet?  When my kids were young, this was one of our favorite Fall activities.  Such excitement and such a hard choice – picking exactly the right pumpkin! In addition to pumpkins and Breast Cancer Awareness, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.  I find that our dyslexic students are some [...]

Learning Disability Does NOT Equal Low IQ

David Letterman and Jay Leno both used to do “man-on-the-street” interviews.  In spite of all kinds of documentation on the contrary, a “man-on-the-street” interview would reveal that many people equate a learning disability with low IQ. Parents with smart but struggling students see far too much evidence of their child’s ability to accept the low [...]

More Reading is NOT the Answer

Chris Botti is one of my favorite artists.  When asked the key to success as a musician, he said, “Four things – Practice, Practice, Practice, and being friends with Sting!” It is generally accepted (and generally true), that if you want to be good at something, you have to practice, practice, practice.  In his book, [...]

A Teacher’s Dilemma – What Do I Do with a Non-Reader in My Classroom?

Last week, I got to spend some time with a dear friend who is a third grade teacher.  This friend was not only my college roommate, but is also a phenomenal teacher.  School had already started for her and she was telling me about a little boy in her class who was the most delayed [...]

Is My Child Dyslexic?

Dyslexia is coming to the forefront as more and more states are looking at legislation around dyslexia and education.  Most sources now site 20% of students as being dyslexic. Here are some questions to ask parents that will help them determine if dyslexia testing is warranted: Is there a family history of dyslexia? Was there [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 5

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 3

We’ve been looking at mistakes that parents inadvertently make when their children struggle in school.  The first 2 were Waiting too long before looking for help Assuming that learning struggles just aren’t that big a deal Here’s #3… Mistake #3 – Thinking  Students Will Grow Out Of Learning Problems Parents are often told or believe [...]

The American Dream and LD

Yesterday was President’s Day and it brings back memories from my childhood of my parents saying, “If you work hard enough, you can do anything.  You could even be president of the United States someday!” What a great message for our kids! As parents spend hours and hours and hours wading through tears, avoidance, and arguments [...]

I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader

I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader                         -Dyslexic Second Grader How is it possible for a dyslexic non-reader to fool her parents and teacher to the point that they honestly believe that she can read? Dyslexic learners are [...]

What Does a Meltdown Mean?

Jessie, was a cute 7-year-old girl when she came to work with us at the Learning Center.  But her behavior wasn’t so cute.  In fact, when I think back on her first several sessions, I think of the Charles Schultz character, Pigpen, NOT because she was messy or dirty – far from it – but [...]

“I’m Not a Reading Person”

Last week I had the pleasure of testing two very bright and very different dyslexic students.  One was 9.  We’ll call him Chris. Chris had tremendous confusion with letters.  He not only reversed b and d, but most other similar-looking letters, such as h and n; i and l; and t, f, and j.  He [...]

Parent Education Classes and Registration

Need strategies for helping your child with homework or schoolwork?  Check out these Parent Education Classes held at SLC Chino. For more information and steps to register: click, download and print from the link below! Parent Education Classes and Registration

DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

Inattention is often the first and most obvious symptom seen by teachers when children struggle in school. This drives parents to their healthcare providers with the question, “Does my child have ADHD?” The challenge behind this question is that inattention, squirming in the chair, staring into space, slow to get started on tasks, poor listening, [...]

Did Henry Ford Have it Right?

Henry Ford said,  “If you think you can, you can.  If you think you can’t, you can’t.” There’s a lot of wisdom and truth in that statement, but there are times when gutting it out just doesn’t work. I once knew a young man in his twenties who couldn’t read or spell. His dyslexia was [...]

I Think I Can! I Think I Can! I Think I Can!

One of my favorite childhood books was The Little Engine That Could.  I loved that little blue engine!  He never ever gave up.  No matter how steep the hill was, he always went after it – he always believed he could do it. “I think I can!  I think I can!  I think I can!” [...]

Walking In Their Shoes

5 Things Parents and Teachers Should Know About Their Struggling Learner AND 5 Ways to Support Them We recently held a Simulation and Strategies Event at Stowell Learning Center, Chino.  The parents and teachers who attended got the opportunity to see what it might feel like to be a student in class with dyslexia, auditory [...]

What Do I Say To My Child About His Learning Difference?

  A mom walked by with a baby who was wearing a soft helmet.  Being an unusual sight, I and most other people they passed glanced a little longer than typical at the baby. Why was a baby wearing a helmet like that? The question was quickly answered by the statement printed in large colorful [...]

Better Than a 5 Year Old

I Should Be Better Than a 5-Year Old, But Alas, I Fail Again! It’s that time of year.  Are you frantically wrapping presents?  Some people really have the knack for it and others just don’t! I caught a quick segment on the Today Show last week highlighting a social media comment about wrapping presents.  In [...]

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Overcoming Dyslexia

I’ve just got to share something that completely made my day! Last week, I was giving a Discover Reading workshop for learning center owners and directors.  They had come from around the country and really wanted to see what it would look like to do the program with a student. One of our students, a [...]

DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

We tested two boys last week with very similar learning strengths and challenges.  In testing, they both had good attention, but one became squirmy in his chair whenever he had to read. The squirmy little guy had been diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity).  He was never a problem in class, but was [...]

Homework Blues Already?

At our Parent Information Meeting this week, a parent shared that her son spends 5 hours a night on what should be less than an hour of homework. Another parent said about their son, who also seems to do nothing but homework once he gets home from school, “We just want him to have his life [...]

The Hidden Meaning Behind Disruptive Behavior

Someone emailed me a cartoon of a principal on the phone with a parent saying, “I wouldn’t say your son is a bad child.  He’s gifted in disruptive behavior.” Augh!  Not the phone call you want to get! Many years ago when I taught 4th grade, I had a student, Tony, who constantly made clever [...]

“I Got Glasses! Now I Can Be Smart!”

Homework is traditionally a battle of wills and tears at eight-year-old Sam’s house because he is so frustrated and struggles so much with reading. The day his mom got him some (secretly) plain glass glasses, Sam was ecstatic.  He told her, “Now I can be smart!”   Two thoughts struck me when Sam’s mom shared [...]

Do Not Pass Go – Go Straight to ADHD

Pay attention!  Pay attention!  Pay attention!  How many times can you tell a kid to pay attention before they finally get the message?  For some parents and teachers, it feels endless. Having worked with thousands of struggling learners over the years, I recognize that ADHD is a real and sometimes a devastating challenge for families. [...]

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High IQ and Academic Success

I once worked with a young man who was so dyslexic that he couldn’t recognize his middle name in print.  But he was also so smart, that he dated a reading specialist for several months and she never knew he couldn’t read! Smart children and adults who struggle academically are often pegged as lazy or [...]

Just Call Me “Braben”

After repeatedly reversing the d in his name, Braden told his teacher, “Just call me Braben!” I laughed when I heard this because this young boy is so delightful and good-natured.  But on further reflection, this is the very last thing that I want for our dyslexic students – to have to spend their life [...]

Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance!

A couple of weeks ago, a family with a little boy about 8 years old walked into church a little late – the worship band was already rocking and everyone was standing and singing. The boy started dancing down the isle.  I thought, “Wow! He’s got great rhythm!” His dad, trying not to call attention [...]

Voracious Reader

Yesterday at a baby shower, I ran into the mom of a former student who shared with me that her son, now 31, came to Stowell Learning Center when he was 7. She said, “We’re so grateful.  I don’t think he would ever have learned to read if it hadn’t been for his time at [...]

CNN Analysis

CNN Analysis:  Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders OK.  So now that the Super Bowl Hype and parties are over…Oh, wait, discussions of the game, the coaches the players, the ads ought to be worth another week, right? We love our sports and our athletes in this country, and having a son [...]

LDA Conference

In the past few weeks, as the rest of the nation has hit record low temperatures, I have been extremely grateful to be living in Southern California where we believe 60 degrees is “freezing!” In So Cal, we not only have the mountains and the beach nearby, but we also have the “Happiest Place on [...]

Fooled You!

I remember playing Hide-and-Seek as a kid. Our very best games were down at the state park by the beach because there were lots of fun places to hide.  We got such delight out of fooling our friends with a really great hiding place. In the right context, hiding can be fun.  But hiding your [...]

She Cries and then I Cry

Dyslexia and Homework Just Don’t Mix “I hate homework!” shares the mom of a beautiful 10-year-old girl.  “It takes hours of pulling and fighting.  She cries and then I cry.  We need help!” What is a parent supposed to think when their child’s best effort at a story after hours of tears looks like this? [...]

One Small Step…One Giant Leap

I was about 12 when men first landed on the moon.  I remember Neil Armstrong making his famous statement, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” I have to admit; I didn’t quite appreciate how profound that moment and that statement were. Everyday, I get to see students with different [...]

Did Einstein Feel Stupid Too?

I don’t like to point fingers at the schools because I know there are so many wonderful, caring teachers out there serving our kids and feeling terrible about those that they can’t seem to help, but Einstein’s quote does point out something that we find to be true all of the time at our center: [...]

Not for Kids Only

First baby on the way! A time of great excitement and more than a little trepidation. I think all new parents feel this way, but one young woman I spoke with recently had an additional fear that most new parents don’t have to consider:  “What if I can’t help my child with his homework when [...]

I Can’t Wait to Go to School and Use What I Learned!

Ten-year-old Hannah spent 6 weeks of her summer working 3 hours a day in an intensive learning program at our center.  As we sat down to begin her retesting, I asked her how she was feeling about what she had learned. “I’m very happy that I came,” she exclaimed.  “I can’t wait to go to [...]

Heartbroken Teachers

While in Colorado recently, one of our Distance Learning parents invited me to speak to a group of parents and teachers.  There was a kindergarten teacher in the group who was literally moved to tears by the plight of smart but struggling students. She shared that, as a classroom teacher she could see when a [...]

Love Those Sneakers!

Two pipes coming out of a wall are just two pipes coming out of a wall, right?  I guess that depends upon who’s looking at them! My first reaction when I saw this picture was delight.  My next thought was, “That artist must be dyslexic.” I realize that’s a gross generalization.  Certainly not all artists [...]

Accommodations and Modifications to Support Dyslexic Students in the Classroom and in Homework

Last week, I promised to post some accommodations that parents and teachers can use to support dyslexic students (or other struggling readers) in the classroom and in homework. So that’s what we’re going to talk about…right after I get a chance to step on my soapbox! My Soap Box Accommodations and modifications can be a [...]

The Gift, Challenge, and Classic Symptoms of Dyslexia

Q: This week HBO aired a special on dyslexia that noted that more than one third of entrepreneurs in the U.S. may be dyslexic. What is it about dyslexia that would cause this to be true? A: This statistic doesn’t surprise me a bit. Having worked with dyslexic children and adults for the past 27 [...]

Reading Like a Dyslexic Reader

I recently took a trip to Paris. I don’t speak French and I don’t read French, but when French is all there is to read and you want to know where you are, what’s on the menu, and what you’re looking at, you have to try to read French. I am completely mystified by the [...]

What IS a Learning Disability, Anyway?

The term learning disability has gone out of vogue because the word “disability” is now politically incorrect.  And in many ways, when talking about students who actually fit this profile, the term learning disability, can be very confusing. By definition, someone who has a learning disability has average to above average intelligence.  In fact, many [...]