“I love to see a child’s eyes light up,” says DeDee Lane, “because he has the ability to read the words on a page.”
Seeing that kind of fire in her students’ eyes has been what has motivated Lane, founder of and reading specialist at the JUMP (Just Use Modern Phonics) to Read program in Boulder, Colorado, throughout her 43-plus years of teaching literacy to elementary-age children from coast to coast.
Lane, who obtained her master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University and, later, an additional master’s of education degree in special education from Bank Street College, began her teaching career in Connecticut in 1964. Since then, her travels have also taken her to New York City and San Diego, California, before landing her at her current post in private practice in Colorado.
“DeDee came along,” writes one mother in Paso Robles, California, whose children were tutored by Lane, “and literally changed my children’s lives forever.”
At JUMP to Read!, Lane continues to have this kind of life-changing success with her students today. Modern Phonics, which is composed of the Pure Phonics and Whole Language approaches to reading instruction, is the principal method that is employed in teaching literacy. In addition, Lane and, consequently, her students, have achieved a high level of success through implementation of the Reading Horizons methodology.
“Reading Horizons can truly change lives!” she proclaims. “I have nothing but complete praise for (this) program. There is no way I could have had the success I have experienced without Reading Horizons. It is so packed with information, so easy to use, so well presented visually – so wonderful in every way! There is nothing, nothing like it!”
Recounting past successes with Reading Horizons, Lane recalls, “While still in San Diego, I used the program to teach (on the telephone) two siblings, ages 8 and 11, how to read successfully. I worked with them three-to-four times weekly and within a year-and-a-half, they each went from totally illiterate to reading at grade level!”
Her current slate of students in Boulder, she has discovered, have been no exception to that rule.
One of these students, a third-grader named Colby*, came to JUMP to Read in October 2006 from a private school background in which reading was not stressed until at least fourth grade. At the time, Colby did not yet know all the sounds of the alphabet and had a sight vocabulary of perhaps four or five words.
“The parents had been told that he had a sensory-processing problem,” Lane remembers. “He was in a reading group at school but did not seem to be making any real progress.”
A significant breakthrough came, she states, “during our 56th session and the third day of our 20th week together. Colby ‘got’ that he was not only a reader but a good reader. … Discovering that he could read at his grade level was nothing short of incredible!”
“I didn’t expect the magic that transpired. He became alive!” Lane continues. “Colby decoded words I never imagined he could. He just wanted to keep reading. We normally end (each session) after 45 minutes – if I’m lucky! – but he was the ‘Energizer Bunny’ (on that day). He read for one hour and four minutes and would have kept going. … The words rolled off his tongue, even the (multi-syllabic) ones. It was a transformation of a nine-year-old child from non-involved and resistant to eager and excited!”
Now, Lane says, “(Colby) is thriving because of (Reading Horizons). He is now reading at the second-grade level. … He is going to be able to begin fourth grade next fall, not being that far behind his classmates; whereas, at the beginning of third grade, he was almost totally illiterate. There is no question of this being possible without Reading Horizons.”
“Honestly, I can’t tell how much the transformation we’ve seen is due to DeDee and how much is due to the materials,” comments Colby’s mother, Mary Larsen*. “All I can tell you is that, together, they have been phenomenal. Our son would not be reading today, I believe, without DeDee’s skilled implementation of (Reading Horizons).”
“She’s going to expect and demand the best,” Larsen concludes, “And that means (this) product is truly excellent.”
Ross*, another current student of Lane’s, came to JUMP to Read! after a rather counter-productive experience in public school.
“There (were) no learning issues,” Lane says, “just poor teaching all along the way. He had been taught phonics one year, whole language the next year, without any continuity. He was confused and frustrated and felt very inadequate. He was tested and found to have some ‘undefined’ learning problems.”
“Ross came to me at the end of January 2007,” she continues. “He could barely read at a fourth-grade level, and his knowledge of phonics was extremely limited.”
Nevertheless, within only two months’ time, he had gone through 60 DIP lessons and had made significant progress.
“Ross is a poster child for Reading Horizons,” Lane says. “The marking system is his best friend; he teaches it to his family. This child is totally empowered and feels secure in the learning process for the first time in his life. It is a beautiful sight to see!”
“To witness Ross excitedly teaching the marking system to his 16-year-old sister,” she sums up, “and explain it to her - is amazing!"