In 2006, at the age of 55, I started (at) the adult-education program at Holland College to continue my education and get my GED. I was only able to attend for a few months before I had to return to work. My experience was a good one but very hard. As a child, I didn’t have a very good beginning when I attended the lower grades in the regular school system, so when it came down to the crunch, I got used to faking it. It became a way of life, so automatic.
Then, in 2007, I returned to the adult-education program, with the determination to continue and succeed. When I returned to school, I was introduced to a new research project called Reading Horizons. It was a three-part project that was done on computer, by teacher, or on (the student’s) own learning ability. I was on the computer part of this “experiment.” At first, I was skeptic of what a computer could do that years of schooling hadn’t been able to (do), but I soon changed my tune. I was tested with the Woodcock Johnson method before and after the project and amazed myself at how much I improved. It was a fun project, as I got to meet others who were in the same boat as I was; there was an understanding teacher there, ready to help, if needed; and I was able to go at my own pace. I was able to learn how to break down words into syllables and sounds, and the computer voice gave me the ability to hear the sounds of these words I didn’t know or that I was pronouncing wrong all along.
Reading Horizons has taught me a lot and has worked for me. It has helped me to get my GED, (which I earned) about a month after the program was finished, and I firmly believe that without it that goal would not have happened as quickly as it did.
I am so grateful to Holland College, the teachers, and to the Reading Horizons program for the help they have given me – help I should have had 40+ years ago – and also for not giving up on me. I now know how to break a word down, watch for the vowels and consonants, and sound it out. I look forward to my new life of learning and understanding what I’ve read. It has become my new way of life, one in which I can help (show) others and also the next generation the importance of good reading.
The only problems I have now are (with) math, metric, aging, and finance. I can’t say enough about the program, except that it helped me so much and gave me a new outlook in life. I think it should be in the schools. Too many children leave grade twelve unable to read and write. We need to work together to correct this problem. Reading Horizons could be a big part of this solution.