Success Stories

Davis Program Success – Kristin Hiatt

by Marsha Hiatt

What an amazing road we have been on for this last year! On Kristen's 8th birthday, we took her to Burlingame to meet with Dee White. What we discovered did not come as a surprise to us. She is a smart girl that has a different way of learning. She was at the end of 2nd grade and had struggled in school almost from the first day. Teaching her the alphabet and sounds was almost more than she could handle. She would remember them all one day and only half the next day. We thought that it was all because of her low vision due to having albinism. Her teacher wanted to hold her back in Kindergarten. She barely squeaked by with the minimal requirements passed. She still was not reading more than a few sight words she had memorized.

First grade was even tougher. Kristen still didn't know most of her numbers because we had been concentrating so much on her learning the alphabet and phonic sounds. She finally learned and remembered the alphabet and sounds after a whole summer of much time and effort. She had many modifications for most of her work. She only had half of the spelling list and only had to do part of the timed math test. Once again, her teacher wanted to hold her back but she was able to go on to 2nd grade.

She went into 2nd grade reading at a level 3, which is a low Kindergarten level. Her school opened a new state of the art reading center and, of course, Kristen attended all year. I was also doing Hooked on Phonics at home. She did great on her Social Studies tests and Science tests as long as someone read the questions to her. But on every report card, she was still getting straight D's but an Outstanding for effort, citizenship, and work habits. She was reading at a level 8 (Kindergarten Level) near the end of the year. She hated feeling confused and thought everyone was watching her.

My sister and two brothers had gone to the Davis Dyslexia Center when it had first opened in 1982. My niece and nephew had done programs during the 2002/2003 school year. My sister sent me The Gift of Dyslexia book and I couldn't believe what I was reading. Everything I read fit Kristen to a "T."

Kristen and I, along with her baby brother, Conner, went to Burlingame in May, 2003. It was a long week for all of us but miracles have happened since that week. Kristen only had a few weeks left in school, so we started on the words right away. Over the summer we did about 135 words in clay and the progress she made was incredible! She had never read an entire sentence without having to sound out every word. She was now reading sentences and entire books in one sitting. We also worked on her numbers and her handwriting. She went into 3rd grade reading at a lst grade 8th month level. About two months later, she was reading at a 2nd grade and 2nd month which increased two months later to 2nd grade 5th month. We continued working on her words and for a reward we went to Disneyland over Christmas vacation. After she came back from vacation, she was reading at an early 3rd grade level.

Her report cards were amazing. She got 2 A's, 2 B's and 2 C's. In reading and spelling, she got a B. Kristen now reads to herself and her younger brothers every night. When it's bedtime, I'll let her know and she says, "just one more page, PLEASE!" which are words I didn't think would ever come out of her mouth. Kristen had set a goal to read 500 books so she could receive the Reading Incentive Trophy. She achieved her goal and read fifty more books. In April 2004, she finally finished the last of her words. She was tested as reading at her third grade level. What excitement! Kristen told all of her previous teachers what she calls her "good news."

Not only has her reading and writing improved but also her cheerleading. She has cheered for 3 years for the Pop Warner Football League. She loves this activity and her coordination has improved dramatically!

We always knew that Kristen was a very smart girl. It was heart breaking to see her struggle after all the effort she put into learning. She now has the tools she needs to succeed. We are so grateful for the help Kristen received. Thanks to the Davis Dyslexia Correction Center, Kristen is reaching her full potential and is more confident. It has truly been a miracle to see her unlock her ability and, by doing so, cement her future of success! Thank you so much.


We commend Kristen for completing Symbol Mastery of the 219 trigger words, 550 books, and moving from Kindergarten to 3rd grade level reading in one year! -- Dee White