In 2003, the Lancaster school district informed my wife and I that testing suggested my youngest son Matthew had a reading deficit that might ultimately cause him not to be able to graduate from High School. While we had known for some time that Matt’s reading was less than stellar, we had been working with him on our own to attempt to maintain at least a minimal grade-level competency. Moreover, since Matt was extremely intelligent and actually likes to read, our thoughts were that the inability to read could eventually become a devastating handicap from which he might never recover. Finally, even though the Lancaster school system indicated Matt was at risk, there was really nothing they could do since Matt was being kept afloat through our home efforts, and to receive any system help he would have to first be allowed to fail. To us, this was totally unacceptable, as we did not feel the stigma of failure was conducive to a positive learning outcome. The staff at CLaRI was very supportive, and soon Matt was enrolled in the program.
Given Matt’s strong-willed nature, there were times when the effort was extremely arduous for all involved. However, he persevered, and slowly improved his reading to at least grade level in the following year. He also continued to challenge himself throughout his elementary, middle and high school years by reading on his own, using the tools CLaRI provided to help understand the material. This personal effort served to strengthen his academic work, and also provided a much needed boost to his self-confidence. Today, on what is actually Matt’s last day of High School, I am pleased to report the intervention CLaRI provided back in 2003 has made a huge positive contribution to Matt’s life. In particular, Matt has achieved the following:
-Lancaster High School National Honor Society member.
-Lancaster Health Care Academy member.
-Daemen College Fall 2013 entering freshman (5-Year Athletic Training Master’s program).
-Daemen College Trustee’s Scholarship winner (one of 12 given to entering freshmen based on academics, personal essays and interviews with senior administration).
-Wegman’s College Scholarship winner (award based on personal essays, interviews and demonstrated work ethic).
-Lancaster High School JV Hockey Captain
-Lancaster High School Varsity Hockey Assistant Captain
-Honor Role – consistent placement in Middle and High School terms
-Reading Mentor (program in which Lancaster athletes read to younger students across the district).
– Volunteer – Hospice, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, WNY Food Bank and the Lancaster Youth Bureau
Finally, Matt wishes to eventually serve his country by joining the United States Navy upon graduation from Daemen. He continues to read on his own today, and has reading interests that include sports, history, politics, technology and military tactics.
Thank you for your work with Matt – it really has made a significant difference in his life. Best wishes for the continued success with your program.
My son, Ely, went through the CLaRI program when he was in 2nd grade. Ely is “graduating” from 5th grade this year and the help CLaRI gave him has helped him to be where he is today. It was a great program that helped him gain confidence and learn the skills he needed to master reading and writing. As a 5th grader, Ely went through the DARE program. He had a to write a 4 paragraph essay. It took him awhile to accomplish this task. He took his time and put in a lot of effort. As a result, his essay was picked as the best in the class and he was asked to read it during DARE graduation. I want to that you for helping my child and others out there. CLaRI is a wonderful program and it helped Ely to get to where he is today!
Fourteen years ago, I sought out the services of CLaRI. Based on his teachers’ assessments up to 4th grade, my son Aaron, was considered a “good” student. However, there were subtle signs that his reading skills were not on par with his conceptual and intellectual skills. He would pass spelling exams, but if tested months later, he would misspell the very same vocabulary words that he previously worked on to pass the initial spelling test. To this day, I vividly recall Dr. Kibby coming into the room where I patiently waited while Aaron was being assessed. He said very upfront, “you do know that your son is extremely intelligent?,” as if I was unaware of my son’s potential. My reply to him was “I know and that is exactly the reason why we are here.” His instructor was an energetic, kind and lovely young woman who just always smiled. Aaron was just so fond of her. After the semester was over, I hired her privately to continue through the summer. If you were to ask Aaron of his experience, he would tell you that his instructor provided him skills that he never came across from any other instructor all through his years of education.
What is most interesting to me was that once he was able to hone these skills, he read not just nonfiction but manuals such as different computer languages. I am proud to say that he is currently an undergraduate at UB School of Management with a major in Information Management Systems.
I credit CLaRI for providing my son the skill set to excel and build his confidence. Thank you!
My children, now grown ups, had a terrific experience at the center. They both attended sessions during the 90’s. We believe that without the reading help Dan and Kate received at the center that would never have been as successful in school as they have been. We always told Dan that if he worked hard as a little guy when he grew up he could go to UB. He thought that was a great idea. Dan graduated from UB in Dec. 2011. Kate also had a wonderful experience at the center and in just a few weeks will graduate from Fredonia. We can’t thank everyone enough for all the time and effort they put into helping our children.