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. So I hope you don’t mind if I share just a few of the wonderful messages of thanks we have received down the years. In this short collection of Testimonials From Dyslexic Students, read how some students – children and adults – transformed their lives by learning to read with Toe By Toe.
– Keda Cowling, author and founder of Toe By Toe
Testimonials From Dyslexic Students
From ‘Home-schooling her daughter, to paid Toe By Toe teacher
“Firstly, I would like to thank you for this wonderful program! My severely dyslexic 9 year old daughter started Toe By Toe in September 2007 with a reading age of 7:1. She was recently retested with a new reading age of 7:11! Naturally, we are thrilled with this ten month jump in only four months. I feel certain it is because of Toe By Toe.
“In fact, I was so impressed I started working at my daughter’s school. I enlisted a further 10 children into Toe By Toe. These children have very little, if any, reading support at home and have therefore not previously been offered the program. Now I am able to offer 5 sessions a week, they have been able to start! Initially, my job was voluntary. However, the school has seen such great progress, the position has now become official! As a result, the school is now paying me to do the role! How fantastic is that!”
– Gail P. – U.K.
Struggling Dyslexic to Masters Degree at Cambridge
“As a grown man of 23, I can honestly say without Toe By Toe I don’t think I would have been able to overcome my dyslexia. Diagnosed as dyslexic at the age of 6, my mother was at her wits end with me until we started using Toe By Toe. Like many other reviews have stated, it took just a few minutes each day over a long time to take effect. By the age of 11 I had a reading age of an 18 year old. Now, I am studying a Masters in Cambridge. A real confidence booster! With a little bit of parental encouragement and a lot of patience it’s possible for anyone to overcome dyslexia”
– ‘Master Bishop’ (review of Toe By Toe on Amazon, May 2016)
From Bottom to Top of the Class
“My son – now 13-years old – was tested by an Oxford professor 6 years ago for dyslexia. Consequently, she recommended Toe By Toe and it saved my son’s education. Yes, you have to sit down together and work through the book, but the outcome is out of this world. My son is now in the top set for English and I still cannot quite believe it. In primary school I was told he would struggle just to keep up with the bottom percentage of children.
“If you have a gut feeling that your child is failing through the education system. That the teaching is not helping, then please buy Toe By Toe. My son is now a ‘Level 7’ student. I put it all down to this book. As the professor in Oxford told us, dyslexia is a small word for a whole range of little problems.”
– Mrs V. Tagg
A Fight Worth Fighting For
Here is a moving testament to the determination and commitment necessary to provide a struggling reader with the precious gift of literacy. Julie Thompson, a member of Dyslexia N.I. in Belfast, tells her story.
“School starts back tomorrow and Ross is going into P5 with a reading age of nearly 10 years. That is just short of a 4-year improvement in the last 5 months. I can’t wait for him to reap the rewards of being able to read like the rest of the class. I am bursting to hear him tell me all about getting moved up in the reading group. Just today he read instructions out loud to me and I was so proud of him. It’s all been down to the hard work and dedication of doing Toe By Toe every day.
Toe By Toe – Binned and Rescued!
“It’s been probably the most stressful time in our house. There were fights, tears and threats of giving up nearly every day for the first few months. Even now we have a squabble or two every so often. Toe By Toe has been put in the bin and taken out, thrown across the kitchen, slammed shut, and cursed at. Consequently, the book bears the scars of every fight. The spine has black tape to hold it together. Some of the pages are slightly ripped at the edges. Some are stained orange with carrots from the bin. But I never thought I would see the day when he would want to treat it like his trophy and handle it with care in case anything else would happen to it. But he does!!
“He is now for the first time ever able to read words he doesn’t understand or heard of before. This isn’t easy as he wants to know what every word means as we go along. It has been a hard long slog for us both this summer, but to me there was no other option. He had to do it. I kept telling him every step of the way: “it’s the most important thing you will ever learn.” And it’s true!
“There is no easy way around it when you’re dealing with a reluctant reader. It can take the best of you. But it is totally worth it just to hear him read and see his face when he asks you to count how many letters in a long word. Toe By Toe shows up the weaknesses of a struggling reader and builds them into confident, independent and fluent readers. There’s no doubt without it Ross would be left to sit in the low reading group and called lazy. No way. Not anymore. Not this boy.”
– Julie Thompson, mother and member of Dyslexia Northern Ireland, Belfast
Diagnosed Dyslexic and Autistic Heading to University
“My now nearly 18 year old son was diagnosed with Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. As a result, ten years ago, I persuaded his primary school to implement a “back to basics” English programme as his reading ability was very poor. He did not progress at all over the previous year. They chose Toe By Toe and implemented structured daily one to one time with him.
“This started at the beginning of Year 5. At the end of Year 6 when the above average ability class took their SATS tests, my son scored the HIGHEST mark in reading in the whole class! Prior to implementation of Toe By Toe , we had sat in a very difficult meeting demanding that our son (who already had a full time Statement of Educational Needs) receive the one to one specialist help that he needed and wanted. The Head of the Council’s SEN Department eventually agreed saying: ‘As long as you don’t expect him to be as good as his peers’. Such a bad attitude and low expectations which I was delighted to prove him wrong about.
“Our son has gone on to achieve 10 A* to C grade GCSEs including English Language, English Literature and Maths. Now, he is currently preparing to take his A levels next year and will apply to University to study History. All of this was unthinkable 10 years ago and his future was an unknown quantity. Thank you for your work, for which I have the highest praise and admiration.”
– Mrs H.Bell – proud parent, U.K. – Oct 2016
Success with Dyslexic and Autistic Adults
“My oldest student was a man of 38 who – although managing at his job – needed to understand highly technical publications and his reading skills were very poor. I took him for 2×30-minute sessions with Toe By Toe per week. It took a while longer than normal as he did not have anyone who could help regularly with the continuation on any other day of the week. He is now extremely confident and has also progressed in his profession.
“A 22-year-old lady who was autistic was also having problems in her job and was severely lacking in confidence. She needed to be able to structure reports. Having been let down in education in her early years it took a while for me to gain her confidence. However, with Toe By Toe she very soon realised her true capabilities. Thanks to Toe By Toe‘s structure she was reading, slowly at first, then faster as she moved further into the book.
“I have many stories of students who had all but given up on school until I started them on Toe By Toe. It is a great confidence builder as well as a wonderful tool to use to teach reading. I have been using it for 20 years.”
– Keith Gray – Private tutor, Northampton U.K. – July 2016
From Hating Lessons to Studying ‘A’ Levels
“Just wanted to tell you, at age 9 my daughter Kat couldn’t read due to dyslexia and hated lessons. She then spent 18 months completing Toe By Toe. It opened up a new world for her. She is now 17 1/2 years old and sitting her ‘A’ Levels (including English Literature) and has just received her 2nd university offer”
V.M. – Grateful Parent – U.K. – Nov 2015