Hannah began coming for language and literacy therapy when she was twelve and in the seventh grade, due to her diagnosis of dyslexia. At the time, she was spending an inordinate amount of time on homework and needing a considerable amount of help from her mom. She also had difficulty with her comprehension of language and learning new vocabulary.

Nevertheless, she was a straight-A student, which speaks to her incredible motivation and determination. But, to keep these grades was laborious and required much perseverance. Though she had received two years of a phonics-based intervention, her reading rate, accuracy, and phonemic awareness were below average. Hannah relied heavily on books on tape or having a family member read to her from her textbooks.

Hannah’s motivation, combined with a systematic and multi-sensory approach in therapy, helped her to achieve phonological awareness scores within the average range by the end of eighth grade. She received explicit instruction on how to learn new vocabulary and use prediction and a variety of strategies to extract more meaning from her textbooks. Her reading rate and accuracy were addressed through choral reading, repeated readings, dramatic reading, and exercises to increase visual automaticity for words and phrases. Both her silent and oral reading rates increased, and she became more independent in completing homework assignments.

Throughout the intervention, the therapist advocated for Hannah and her family to receive appropriate accommodations for test-taking (additional time) and for completing assignments (having textbooks that she could take home and highlight). Hannah continues to excel in high school, and she plans to attend an Ivy League school after graduation.