My middle son was diagnosed with a mixed expressive/receptive language disorder at the age of 5. At the time, my husband and I really didn’t know what that meant for him or his future. I vividly remember sitting in a room with four sets of eyes carefully watching us as they explained the results from his recent testing. As the words reached my ears, all I could do was nod as the tears slowly swept down my cheeks.
That day was a difficult day and if I am being honest, the days thereafter didn’t seem to get any easier. For three years, I cringed at the very thought of afternoons spent doing homework. Lots of tears were shed during those afternoon hours — his tears and mine.
Those years were lonely years. Learning challenges of any kind can make you and your child both feel very isolated. As if you are the only people in the world facing these challenges. Only hearing stories of the children who were excelling, not hearing stories of those who were struggling.
Reading was the most difficult and daunting challenge of all. We tried many different types of books. We visited the library regularly. I asked his teachers for advice and help in choosing the best books for his reading level. We sat for hours nightly, working on homework and practicing his reading. Over the years, he continued to improve. It seemed we were climbing the biggest mountain of our lives but the progress, even if ever slight, was rewarding.
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Then one day while searching online for reading apps, I came across the Epic! App. I was immediately intrigued and decided to try the 30-day free trial. Epic! is a digital library for children ages 12 and under that offers instant access to over 35,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more. From the very first time I opened up the app, I knew it was going to be a good fit for him. And it really was.
I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that this app changed his life and instantly made reading easy for him. Obviously, that was not the case. But what it did give him was a whole library full of books to choose from that were literally at his fingertips. Reading about what he liked and what he was interested in helped alot. If nothing more than to lighten the frustration just a little. With Epic!, the tears dried up, the fits became fewer and fewer (both his and mine) and for the first time in a very long time, my afternoons didn’t look so bleak.
We have been Epic! members for a few years now and I can honestly say that the growth we have seen in him has been exponential. I think also, his growth has to do with consistency in him just reading every single day. Epic! has helped with that part as well – giving him a multitude of options to choose from. He still has his struggles and we still have our afternoon meltdowns from time to time (both his and mine) but we are getting through this journey together. I am his biggest fan and even when times are hard or when I just don’t want to do it, this mama isn’t giving up – like ever.
How about you? Do you have any resources or apps you would recommend for struggling readers? I’d love to hear!
Holly is a 42 year old wife and mom to 3 boys, from Nashville, Tennessee. She is a hot tea lover, book reader, journal keeper, Pinterest pinner, podcast listener, y’all sayer, self-taught graphic designer, hobbyist photographer, writer and dreamer of all things big and small. You can find all of her ramblings here at Blu Nest Bloom.