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Grand Traverse Woman

When my mother shared with some of my family members that I was struggling, she found out about dyslexia. Some of my cousins had the same struggles when they were in school. Finally, she knew where to get me help. 

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PRESSURE TO SUCCEED Asking for help was hard for me to do, and I felt pressure from my peers and teachers to come up with the right answer. I felt like it was shameful not to know the information I was supposed to learn, but it was impossible for me to know what I was supposed to. I simply couldn’t understand what I was reading for class. I was humiliated to read out loud in the classroom. I stumbled over the words on the page and my classmates would snicker at me. By the end of reading a passage, there were tears burning in my eyes from trying to hide my embarrassment. But I couldn’t cry, I told myself. That would only make the situation worse.  Unfortunately, my school was not able to address my particular learning hurdle. Instead, my mother took me to a resource outside of the school district to get me the help I so desperately needed. Over the next four years, I received tutoring at the Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association.

TUTOR TOOLS My tutor used the Orton-Gillingham method to teach me reading, writing and spelling, one-on-one. This method is phonicsbased, which means that it uses visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. My lessons were one-hour sessions, twice a week during the school year. Slowly but surely, my reading started to improve, and I began to gain confidence. Better reading and comprehension skills helped me with my spelling and writing, which then helped me understand my homework and improve my grades.

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THE BOOK THAT CHANGED IT ALL When I was in the fourth grade, my tutor introduced me to a book called The Sister’s Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley. It was one of the books she had me read to her out loud. I fell in love with this book, and it made me want to read all on my own! I never thought I could ever enjoy reading.  Finding myself excited to read a book was a surprise to both my parents and me. I had always loved stories read aloud to me by my parents or by my teachers, but I never thought that I could do it myself. When I realized that I could read on my own, it opened many different worlds to me. I was transported to different places, times and cultures and I met so many new friends in the stories I read.

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Stacy Arnold graduated from Northwestern Michigan College in Spring 2018 with her Associate in Liberal Arts and Science Degree. She plans to attend Ferris State University through the University Center to receive her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. She enjoys reading, dancing and playing her fiddle. You can find out more about Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association at www.gtdyslexia.org.

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I graduated from the Dyslexic Association after four years of hard, dedicated work. Despite being able to do homework on my own and read at a higher grade level, I still struggled with tests and quizzes. I knew it was going to be an ongoing process of learning how my brain works and what study skills worked best for me. I will never be cured from my dyslexia, but I will be forever grateful for the tools the Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association provided me to be successful. I can’t wait for this next chapter in my book, wherever the stories take me.

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May/June '19 51

Profile for Grand Traverse Woman Magazine

GTWoman May/June 2019 Issue