One of the most heart-warming things about Toe By Toe for me is to receive unsolicited letters of thanks from students, parents and teachers who successfully use the manual. In this short collection of Home Schooling With Toe By Toe Testimonials, read how lives have been transformed for both children and adults who learned to read with Toe By Toe.
– Keda Cowling, author and founder of Toe By Toe
Home Schooling With Toe By Toe Testimonials
Hats off to Keda Cowling! The Mother Teresa For Dyslexics!
“Our son was lagging in class, lacking confidence and could not read properly. It caused us to change a couple of schools and eventually it started taking toll on my personal and family life as well. My wife, who used to teach him for school, developed high blood pressure as it was SO stressful to teach him ANYTHING expect for computers. And the knowledge gained from computers was also limited because of his reading problems.
“I found Toe By Toe to be so helpful that words cannot describe my feelings. There is no doubt that it is the work of a lifetime of research and hard work. The changes Toe By Toe has brought to my son’s life are tremendous and unbelievable. It is like magic. I expected results but not so soon and so huge. English is NOT the first language in this country, therefore, it is not spoken in our homes. Toe By Toe has improved his reading skills so much that he has started reading newspapers in English. It seems that almost all exercises are like keys, opening one door each to the garden of clear reading.
“I will summarize by saying that I owe my current happiness and my child’s learning to read English to Keda Cowling. I wish I could meet her and bow my head in respect in front of her, one day. My son always asks about her and wants to meet his teacher so much. Hats off to Keda Cowling! You are a Mother Teresa for dyslexics.”
– Dr Unwar Aswan – Medical doctor and parent, Pakistan – January 2008
From School Phobia to Reading Charles Dickens with the Help of Toe By Toe
“This is a true story with a happy ending. First of all, I will tell you about my son Scott. He was born in January 1984 and his difficulties began with very late speech development. After intensive speech therapy, he started infant school with an almost normal level of speech. It soon became obvious to me that learning was not going to be easy.
“Since Scott turned five years of age, I went regularly to school because Scott’s literacy skills were making no progress. I tried everything I knew to try to help him: phonic blends, flash cards, reading to him and with him, paired reading and much more. He made virtually no progress. By the time Scott reached his ninth birthday, I was beside myself with worry and frustration. I could see my son falling further and further behind and it was beginning to affect his whole life. He became hostile, developed school phobia and sickness in the mornings. Life was becoming a nightmare.
“In desperation, in November 1993, I wrote to everyone who I thought could help my son. My husband is unemployed, so private tuition was out of the question. By this time, Scott was more than 2 and a half years behind with his reading and three years behind with his spelling. I am an ordinary Mum with no teaching qualifications. I was at my wit’s end!
“In March of 1994, my prayers were answered. I discovered Toe By Toe. At this point, I was prepared to try anything. Scott’s low self-esteem was so bad that, to be honest, when I looked through the book my initial reaction was that he would never be able to cope with it. However, we had nothing to lose. So we started Toe By Toe on April 1st.
“Gradually, both Scott and myself gained confidence because the progress he made was remarkable. On my part, as a complete novice, the simple and short ‘coaching boxes’ for each page were invaluable as they guided me every ‘toe’ of the way. Sometimes reluctantly, Scott did the daily 20 minutes needed. I am sure that – although he made excellent progress from the beginning – he always feared that he would reach a point where he would FAIL. He had known nothing else. However, as he progressed, he began to realise that he COULD master the words.
“The nonsense words and syllable divisions are very important parts of Toe By Toe. In my opinion, they greatly helped Scott with word attack skills. We finished Toe By Toe on the 25th August. My son has moved from reading words of one syllable to words such as philanthropist, as well as virtually any word combinations. Toe By Toe is intended basically to teach reading, but Scott’s spelling has improved alongside his reading.
“His self confidence has improved and he now has a different attitude to life. I cannot fault Toe By Toe. My son is reading Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. I shall never be able to thank Keda Cowling enough for creating this scheme. In fact, my only criticism of Toe By Toe is that it was not available four years ago when my son began to fail. If it had been available, my son would not have had to suffer the effects of ignorance, denial of developing literacy and sheer neglect of his obvious dyslexic symptoms.
“Toe By Toe should be promoted so that every parent and teacher knows of its existence. No child should have to suffer as my son did.”
– Mrs B. F. – Proud Parent, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, U.K.
Tears of Joy For All the Family, Thanks to Toe By Toe
“The first two lessons were a trial for both of us. She was embarrassed at being unable to pronounce some single letters and short words. And I had no teaching experience at all. In the third lesson, some of the letters and words had collected the magic “three ticks”. I said “Yes, according to the book, you really know these words”. She was immediately sold on it, took the book to the kitchen to show mum and said “Look, I really can read all this”.
“At that point we all cried a bit. It seems so small a step now, looking back, but from that point on, her confidence grew. First, day by day, then week by week, then month by month. Within a year she was reading more or less normally, and her reading ability no longer held her back. She is now studying criminology, but I am absolutely sure that, without that year on Toe By Toe, she would even now be quite unable to read the word ‘criminology’, let alone the rest of it.
“One big advantage of Toe By Toe is that it is almost impossible to guess at words. So the student really has to read phonetically in English in order to move forward. And the balance of long term and short term memory means that lessons stay stuck. This is unlike the ‘look and say’ approaches which so many schools still cling to. And the comprehensive teacher’s notes allow almost any reader to act as tutor to any student who cannot read.
“If your child has a problem reading, or you want to help at home anyway, then you really should get Toe By Toe. Just follow the instructions and watch your student’s confidence grow. It really is worth the effort. And it can make you cry.”
-Proud Dad, South Wales, internet feedback
From Despair to Pride – How Cerebral Palsy Student Learnt to Read with Toe By Toe
“Dear Keda Cowling, I felt I just had to write to you to let you know the enormous success we’ve had with Toe By Toe. Our youngest child has mild-moderate cerebral palsy. As a result, amongst other things, he has a visual problem causing difficulty with scanning and has epilepsy which causes significant ‘blips’ in concentration. There are also perceptual difficulties. In spite of the school’s best efforts and assessment by the Ed Psych, my son failed to learn to read and, unless he learned soon, he would fall significantly behind in his schooling.
“At this point my husband saw an article about Toe By Toe in the Times Educational. We asked at school if they would mind trying Toe By Toe. They replied that anything was worth a try. We were all slightly desperate at this stage! So at the beginning of October our copy arrived. To cut a long story short, 6 months on and we were finished. We are enormously grateful to your (formidable looking!) volume. It has worked a real miracle with our little fellow and given him such a sense of pride. Wonderful!
“Our son’s teacher confessed to me after we’d finished that when she looked at Toe By Toe she never thought it would work. I felt a little the same myself, but clung to the reassurance that you’d never had a failure yet with this method!
“So we now have a 7-year old with good reading skills and word building skills too. And, what’s most important, a little boy with a sense of pride and achievement, feeling good about himself. Thank you!”
– A.C. (Parent) – Somerset U.K.