Case Study: 

Ottakee's Children

Ottakee has been posting on the BRI Yahoo Forum: Beginning Reading Instruction since the year of its inception in 2004. 
Her two remarkable daughters are the only known children in the world with both a nuclear DNA mutation and a mitochondrial DNA mutation. Both daughters have severe and multiple special needs, most especially the older girl who ‘looks and acts more like (a child with) an IQ in the 60s but tests out at 38 with scores ranging from 20-120 – so quite the range’. 


I am hoping to use BRI with my 8dd Jane who is borderline mentally impaired. She knows her letters and sounds down pat, can spell 3 letter words but can not READ the same words…. She has a short attention span and I don't see her focusing on this for longer than that-at least at first when it is really difficult. 

So far NOTHING has worked with Jane (8) as to reading words – even though she knows all of her sounds and can spell the words. 

I taught my son with fetal alcohol and an IQ of 53 to read and that was EASY compared to my dd. What is the best way for a newcomer to get started? I have not yet used it myself but will be starting in 2 weeks with Jane who can not read at all and has some language delays. If it works with her I think it will work with just about any student.

I started today with my 8dd, Jane. She has multiple issues including IQ of 63, LDs, severe stuttering, mild hearing loss, and word finding issues. We are taking it very slowly. Today we just did the sounds and flashcards for book 1. …She knew all of the sounds already except ee but picked that up quickly. She did read "I see Sam" today and was very proud of herself. 
I figure that I will have to move very slowly with her. My ideal goal is 2 books per week. I figure on Monday we will introduce the new stuff and read the story, Tuesday repeat the story, work on spelling the words, review, etc. Wednesday a new story with Thursday review and Friday maybe games and reviewing the previous stories. I don't think she will mind at all rereading the stories. 
Maybe over time we can move faster but even at 1 story a week she will be making more progress than we have with any other program.

Interestingly, though, I had Sue, my 7-year-old old daughter (IQ 85) who is reading some of the books to me just for fun. She stumbled more than I thought she would with the books. I think it is because she can't "read" the pictures and the words like sit, sis, Sam, etc. all look close so you can't just use the first letter to guess. I am thinking about working her through the whole set just at a faster pace – maybe 1-2 books per day as she picks up things more quickly. 

Any other hints for using this at home with my girls? We can do 1-2 session per day 5 days a week and even some review on the weekends if we need it.
We just did book 12 of set 1 with Jane today. It is still slow going but the word ‘I’ that I thought we would never get a few weeks ago is down pat as are some other words that we struggled with. I just think that she is a child that needs LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of exposures to a word.
BRI seems to give her a REASON for tracking left to right. She really struggled with that even after vision therapy. I noticed yesterday she is slowly tracking left to right and it makes SENSE to her now that she can read a tiny bit. 

Jane has severe speech and language delay, severe stuttering (worst possible score), complex-partial seizures, ADHD, bipolar, mild hearing loss, and a huge host of medical issues which require 5-8 different medications per day. She also tests like a brain injury child and may have been a shaken baby. We do know that she had very little stimulation/nurturing during her 1st 8 months of life. She was kept with her hands strapped down and her face covered much of the time.

The neuropsychologist was very impressed yesterday when we went in to see her. Jane is now reading a tiny bit and even read some things out of a standardized test that she has NEVER seen in BRI. They were things like green (she knew the ee sound from see), red box, etc. 

My just turned 8 last week daughter Sue is basically repeating 1st grade. I am home schooling so we just go at her own pace. She is on book 6 of BRI 3 since the start of school this year. I am very pleased with her progress. 
I think one problem with the public school system is that everyone is expected to learn at the same pace in all of the subjects. If you learn faster they don't know what to do with you and if you learn a little slower you are special needs. 
This is one of the reason I am homeschooling – my girls can learn at their own pace and feel good about their learning.



Just thought I would give a progress report. 
8dd Sue is on ARI 1. She is doing OK but slowing down with all of the word endings. Also her meds for ADHD are not at the right dose. We are increasing it starting tomorrow. We will see if that helps as well. Over all though her progress is good – she started with set 1 in September. 
9-year-old Jane read book 19 of set 1 today. I was very surprised at how well she did. 
Just as an aside I showed this program to my sister. She started the books with her 5 -year-old son and 3-year-old daughter last week. Today they called to say they had both just read book 3. These little tykes have no learning disabilities and the 3-year-old is very verbal/bright but I thought I would share their success so far. 

Well, we are now on book 4 of BRI 3 with 9-year-old Jane. So far, so good. She is struggling a little with blending 2 sounds together like the /d r/ in drum, /s l/ in slip, etc. but once we go over it once or twice she gets it for the rest of the story – and even the next book.
My 8-year-old daughter Sue started the program last September so she has been doing this for about 12 months now. She is on book 3 of ARI 2. She is also doing a lot of off BRI reading. 

My 9-year-old Jane is on book 12 of BRI 3 now. She started last September as well. At first it was taking us one week per book then we went to 2 books a week and now we are up to 1 new book per DAY. Yes, she is still quite behind but she is transferring this knowledge to other books. Also, she was never expected to be able to learn to read so we are pleased with her progress.


Just another note since my daughter Jane is (also) in ARI 1. I honestly don't think she would test well in other books. YES, she can read the words she knows from BRI in other easy readers and even some with the same code BUT throw in too many of those hard sight words/advanced code words that many K/1st grade kids learn and she would be totally lost. 
Even with my 8 1/2 daughter Sue who has a low average IQ and LDs didn't really start reading off BRI stuff until about mid ARI 2. Even now she still struggles with some words that she hasn't gotten the code for yet. 
Just want to encourage you to keep going. It IS slow moving but look at how much your daughter has learned with you compared to what she would have learned without you and your BRI books.

BRI can't be beat for teaching them to READ - decode the words.

You were not around 18 months ago when I started this process. If you can go back in the messages that far you can see just how TOUGH this was for my 10-year-old daughter Jane back then. It took us 6 MONTHS--not weeks or days, but MONTHS to get through set 1. I thought we would never ever ever get the word ‘I’ down. Fast forward, 18 months. My 9-year-old daughter Sue is reading just about anything she wants - about a 3rd grade level and 10-year-old Jane that struggled so much is working on ARI 2 which is the end of 1st grade. 
Use the NOTCHED CARD and show her only ONE sound at a time (remember ee/th/sh, etc are one sound). That way she HAS to say the sounds as if she just sees the ‘S’ she won't know if the word is sit, sat, set, see, Sam, etc. If she sees the m the word could be meet, men, me, mat, mit, etc.-she has to blend the sounds one by one. Then show the next sound, then the last sound. Have her then blend the word. If she still doesn't get it - model it over and over and over again - then start again. 
….Try to keep the sessions short - maybe 10-15 minutes twice a day would be best but no more than 20 minutes at a time for ALL of the activities-reading, flashcards, and spelling work. 
…one more note, with tough kids it can take WEEKS to get through the first few books. I modelled the blending over and over and over and over again for my dd. It took her likely 100+ tries to get Sam down. We would get through it on page one and then do it AGAIN on page 2. I just kept working in 10-15 minute session, once or twice a day, and SHE GOT IT. She is now in ARI 2 and doing great with the blending of new sounds into words. This might not be easy but it does work. 

Here are the updates for my 2 students that happen to be my 2 daughters. 
9-year-old Sue (LDs, low average IQ and VERY ADHD) started out with ARI 2 this fall and read through set 2, 3, and most of 4 when she transitioned to LOTS of library books. She is now reading just about anything she wants from the children's section. She is not doing much with chapter books as she really like picture books – but will sit and read 5 or more picture books in a sitting (non fiction too). …. 
10-year-old Jane (mild mental impairment, seizures, severe stuttering, speech and language delays, ADD and a host of other medical issues, and a rapidly changing eye glass prescription). She started out the year with BRI 3. We worked our way through BRI 3, ARI 1 and part of ARI 2 but the stories were just getting too long. We re-read BRI 3 and ARI 1 but the stories in ARI 2 were still too long. No real problem with the code, mostly just the length of the story. We are again re-reading the Boosters and she LOVES that as they are easy for her (no sounding out). She is really trying but … everything is a huge struggle for her.


Just thought I would share an update on my 11 ½ -year-old daughter Jane ….. 
For those who are new here is a little history: 
Fall 2004 started BRI 1. It took us over 6 months to get through BRI 1 - yes 6 MONTHS. I think we did 1000 repetitions of the word ‘I’ before she got it. 
Spring 2005 started BRI 2. 
Summer 2005 did the Booster books. 
School year 2005/2006 did BRI 3, ARI 1 and got part way through ARI 2.
Summer 2006 made changes to her seizure meds. 
Fall 2006 [following change of medication] started over almost at square 1. She could NOT read the BRI 1 books without a great struggle. 
November 2006 restarted one of the seizure meds we had stopped. SLOWLY worked through BRI 1 and 2. 
Winter/Spring 2007 – made it through the Booster books and BRI 3 – now at a pace of 1 new book a day. 
TODAY - read story 1 in ARI 1 with NO mistakes and able to sound out the new words on her own!!!!!! 
We are still not to where we were a year ago BUT this is HUGE progress for a child that could hardly get through the 1st story of set 1 in the Fall. 
Her neurologists are baffled. They say she is the most complex case they have in the office. This seizure med has made a huge difference in her academic abilities. 
My goal now is to read through ARI 1 and 2 over the summer (or as far as we can get) and then keep going as far as she can. I am hoping she can make it through ARI 5 and become a fluent reader. 
Another interesting side note, she struggles with severe stuttering – at times she can hardly get anything out. The speech therapist said she rated the worst on the stuttering scales. With the increase in the seizure meds her stuttering is getting much better but is still moderately severe BUT..........when she reads she is TOTALLY fluent. 

I don't know if you remember my 12-year-old daughter Jane or not. We started the BRI program 3 or 4 years ago now and are just up to ARI 2. She is almost done with this set now. It took us a YEAR to get through sets 1-2 ….. the farther along we go, the better and faster she is moving. It is hard to imagine that the first few books of BRI were more difficult for her to learn than reading ARI 2 books. Now in ARI 2 things are starting to really click with her reading (except that pesky b and d thing).
And as an update on my now 12-year-old daughter Jane. She is up to ARI 2, book 5 and moving along nicely. She still tires easily when reading so now that the stories are a lot longer we break them into 2 parts with a short break in the middle. This is my child who lost all reading ability last year (was up to starting ARI 1) and has come this far in a year.


Just thought I would send out another update on my 12 -year-old daughter Jane….. 
Yesterday she started ARI 3. She is doing very well with the actual reading but is getting frustrated with the full pages of text with no pictures. I wish that they had more 1/2 pages of text with more pictures as it would look easier to her. She gets stuck on a few irregular words but otherwise is getting most of the new words totally on her own. 
For those of you new, she started BRI and got up to set 3 then due to seizures and med changes lost EVERYTHING and we started over in the fall of 2006 with set 1 and it was a struggle. Since then though it has gotten easier and easier. I think that it is pretty good that in 1 1/2 school years she has done 5 sets of books and is working on ARI 3. 
Now, if they only made a BRI math program we would be all set. 

Today 12-year-old Jane (in book 4 of ARI 3) was sitting in the "reading room" (aka bathroom) reading a picture book from the church library. It was a simple book but she was READING it---all on her own (minus the proper names) and without being prompted. This weekend she was also trying to read my emails as I was typing. 
I think after ARI 3 we might start buddy reading some easy books. 
Oh, she is also reading headlines in the newspaper and tiny bits of magazine captions, etc. 
The BRI work is transferring to "real" life now for her. 

It has been a LONG road getting her reading ……..

Ph.  +61 431 586 029  / Located in Perth, Western Australia