Write Read &Lead

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Welcome Message from Suki Stone, PhD

Welcome to Write Read Lead Magazine. I am pleased to introduce you to an alternative approach to literacy proficiency for struggling readers. Whether children or adults have dyslexia, reading challenges, or just need another approach to become proficient readers, I created a program to help change the way they learn. I will be sharing children’s and adults’ stories of their progress since becoming proficient readers in 14 days or less. Write Read Lead begins with storytelling about individual life’s passions. All of the processes are built on five researchers. Two of the researchers are the anchors of the Write Read Lead program. Dr. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, understood that peoples’ life experiences were the foundation of their learning to read. My process begins with a saying from Dr. Roach Van Allen. “What you think you can say; what you say you can write; and what you write you can read.” Therefore, writing comes before reading. I wanted to create a magazine that positively acknowledges children and adults who

were struggling readers, but overcame their difficulties and began to fulfill their dreams. I also wanted to highlight people who had frustration reading because of their different learning methods, but found the moments of success to make their own contributions. The magazine will emphasize successes and accomplishments of individuals who had doubts about achieving their goals. In this first issue, I interviewed Manny, a ninth-grader who struggled with dyslexia, during his elementary grades. Today he has a Bachelor's Degree from Sacramento State University, is the headteacher for a private school and is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Education. I will also be highlighting companies and organizations that support Stone Educational Systems, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to provide scholarships for children and adults. My mission is to employ teachers I have taught in the United States. The teachertraining approach is to train

teachers and mentor them with children or adults so they will become proficient in teaching the program. I want to hear from you! If you have a nonprofit organization that is working with people who need literacy instruction consider a collaborative opportunity with Stone Educational Systems, Inc. If you are a teacher that wants to join me in Empowering Minds One Reader at a Time, please contact me. My mission is to reach as many people who are struggling as possible to become independent readers. If you are the head of a corporation that wants to include literacy as a benefit to employees to improve their well-being or their children, contact me at drstone@ writereadlead.org or 858-4877889. My vision is to have a country of independent readers and passionate learners.

Suki Stone,



06 Why Write Read Lead Changes Lives

12 Illiteracy Rates Increase : Why Schools Are Failing Our Children

18 What Your Child Eats Impacts Their Learning Capacity

24 Interview with Manny a former student

32 My Dear Suki... A parent & teachers personal experience with Dr. Suki

Why Write Read Lead Changes Lives


ave you ever thought about what your life would be like if you couldn’t read? For example, in a restaurant you wouldn’t be able to read the menu; or you wouldn’t be able to read your text messages and email. Reading for many people comes naturally, but reading is a life-long challenge for both children and adults who struggle and may have dyslexia. They know they are smart, but just can’t “get it.” I’m Dr. Suki Stone, founder of the Write Read Lead Magazine, and I wanted to have an opportunity to share the success of children and adults who overcame their dyslexia and are no longer struggling readers. When they are taught using the Write Read Lead program, they achieve grade-level reading proficiency in 14 days or less. As an educator for decades, I realized my students needed an alternative approach to traditional reading programs. They were failing no matter what program I implemented or what the published reading programs offered. But one day in 1983, I reached out to Julie, a student in the second grade, who was so frustrated despite her efforts, with no positive results. Julie couldn’t read her name on

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Instead of using the pictures and having students create a collage, I asked them to share their passions with me.


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an index card, and I told her she would learn to read. Julie was to make a collage of pictures she loved from magazines in my classroom. I experimented with the process and wanted Julie to concentrate on pictures with the letter “b.” We started with a well-known bank in the city, her passion for butterflies, and playing with her Barbie dolls. She also told me she had a passion for oceanography and loved watching fish. The collage of pictures she chose was the foundation for each short story she wrote. Julie dictated her stories telling me her understanding of the purpose of banks and how her parents saved money in a savings account. However, Julie's most noteworthy comment was when she told me there was another kind of bank. I asked her what she meant and was surprised at her answer. She said, “When you go fishing, you sit on a bank.” I asked her how she knew that and she told me her father takes her fishing every weekend. Remember mothers and fathers are most often their children’s first teachers.

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That was all I needed to realize Julie’s personal knowledge would help her become a proficient reader. She was knowledgeable about certain subjects, and I wasn’t worried about the difficult reading skills for her to master. Instead, I knew that developing those skills was secondary to her knowledge and comprehension of the subject matter we were writing together. I was aware of many teachers' difficulty teaching those with learning disabilities, specifically children with dyslexia. So I wanted to find a different way for them to learn. Working with Julie was the beginning of my Ah-Ha moment. But I also needed to make sure that my application of Julie’s storytelling process had research underlying the actual process I was developing. Foundational Theories for the Program I knew about Dr. Roach Van Allen while I was in graduate school. He was a researcher with an innovative way to teach reading. He


originated the Language Experience Approach, teaching children how to read. He coined the phrase, “What you think, you can say; What you say, you can write; What you write, you can read.” His phrase was so important because it acknowledges language as the beginning of the process of reading.

Teaching reading doesn’t always begin with learning sounds and combining these sounds to pronounce words. Phonics and phonemic awareness rely on auditory discrimination. Most of my students need a different way to learn to read because children with dyslexia have difficulty with auditory discrimination. That means that they cannot distinguish between vowel sounds in words and may also have difficulty with consonant sounds. Instead of teaching the sounds over and over, hoping they would master them, they need an alternative approach to traditional reading skills. I created Write Read Lead, a paradigm shift with different assumptions about how children learn to read and what skills they need. The theory of a paradigm, explained by Thomas Kuhn (1970), means people embrace a unique or novel concept related to attitudes and behaviors. The theory of Holistic Constructivism is the


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underlying framework from Jean Piaget (1970) and Levi-Strauss (1963) that is foundational for the established Write Read Lead program. Another researcher and professor was Dr. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian, who taught 450 migrant workers to read proficiently in 45 hours. He used their personal knowledge to teach them to read. The additional education researchers I chose had novel approaches and conducted studies in their classrooms. Silvia Ashton-Warner was a kindergarten teacher in New Zealand, knowing that the foundation for children’s reading was their personal experience. Her book is entitled Teacher. Grace Fernald was a professor at UCLA and originated the process of using multisensory visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile (VAKT) techniques with children. She created the sand tray method for spelling and learning new words. Children use the sand tray to trace words with two fingers so they retain the words and learn how to spell them. Practicing the tracing technique helps children

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retain material long term. Throughout my years using the Write Read Lead program, I made changes that were based on several other educational researchers who reported a learning difference in their students who practiced their specific method. I wanted to make sure that my program was multisensory and addressed a variety of learning styles, since children with dyslexia or learning disabilities needed another approach. These children were identified within the Education Law of the federal government in 1975. Before that year, they struggled in school and were not determined to have learning problems. Instead of using the pictures and having students create a collage, I asked them to share their passions with me. (The students knew what the word passion meant.) They loved sharing their life activities with me. I knew these students were smart--just like Julie--as they dictated their thoughts and ideas for me to write down. In addition, they were able to use vocabulary beyond their grade level. For example, in

my 3rd grader’s stories, she wrote about a friend who was genuine. I asked her how she knew that word and she said her mother explained the meaning. Robert Sweet, former education director of the National Institutes of Health, studied vocabulary and stated that children have a 35,000-word vocabulary before they are four years old. Children’s vocabulary that they use and hear as they are growing up, and read words holistically instead of phonetically is the beginning of the reading process. Comprehension is integrated into their learning. I remember Rosita, a 9-yearold in my intern's class who wanted to learn to read. When I asked, “Rosita, what is your passion?” She answered, “I can say anything I want? I love horses!”


Illiteracy Rates Increase: Why Schools are Failing Our Children


have been teaching since 1969. Teaching school children in the early 1970s was very different from our schools today. With the establishment of technology, we have changed how we view who students are, what they need, how to administer the curriculum, and how to grade their achievement. In 2021 our classrooms were comprised of students of many different ethnicities and backgrounds. But, of course, there were classrooms with students from different ethnicities and backgrounds in the 1970s. Still, the educational system focused on one size fits all referring to both reading and math curricula.

Every child had to fit into whatever the school districts bought and used for each grade level. I was unaware of how decisions were made and did not realize those curriculum decisions were made by administrative input rather than by the teachers who were teaching. It was also not evident to me as I began my teaching experience that many administrators were not certified teachers, but had been coaches and had taken an administrative exam to become principals. One principal I spoke with at the time, said since he was a parent and raised children. Therefore, he could feel confident becoming a principal. I don’t believe that’s a rationale for enabling administrators’ autonomy over teacher and curriculum decisions that may influence our children's lives. Write, Read & Lead Magazine


Even though today our administrators now may need a teaching credential and some teaching experience, the decisions made for curriculum choices are still not voted on by teachers. Teachers who work directly with children with special needs have several credentials and yet are not given the opportunity to contribute to curriculum decisions. We have decades of many reading programs for children in general education and special education classes that use phonics or phonemic awareness and they do not progress. Most children are very successful readers using phonics or phonemic awareness, but those with learning disabilities, 14.

specifically dyslexia, learn differently and are not disabled. Many end up teaching themselves when they become adults. The school systems didn’t recognize their learning differences which were overlooked. Children who have difficulty or are diagnosed with dyslexia receive the school district reading programs year after year whether or not they advance in their skills. They continue to have difficulty and their learning needs are not met. The statement, if you continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results is a sign of thoughtlessness for students and teachers. I believe that schools are failing these students because they

are not considering a different approach and a different theory of learning. These children have difficulty distinguishing sounds and are consistently unable to retain or differentiate between sounds. They do not have auditory discrimination which means they can’t distinguish the different sounds in words. Learning to read holistically where they recognize the whole of words that are in their vocabulary is a more effective alternative than how the teachers are required and encouraged to teach. The theoretical premise that children have a large vocabulary before they ever enter school is foundational to their learning. Researcher Robert Sweet, from Write, Read & Lead Magazine

Since the academic structure is written more narrowly there is confusion that changes children’s behavior and may even affect their self-concept.

the National Institutes of Health presented this premise. Examining an alternative approach to what has been and is currently taught in the schools related to teaching reading, is a responsibility for both teachers and administration. Education administration professes that the curriculum is child centered. However, they rarely ask children questions that require an authentic dialogue, whereby the children would reply with advanced vocabulary. Instead, the administrators concentrate on a fixed approach to reading for most children within an age group, overlooking children’s different learning methods. I am reminded of a story where Write, Read & Lead Magazine

the mother and father speak while their three-year-old child watches. The mother asks, “How was your day, honey?” He responds, “I was very frustrated today because I didn’t anticipate that my client had not followed the instructions I gave him.” The next day, the mother tells her son to dress himself and get ready to go shopping. When she comes into his room, he isn’t ready. She asked, “Why aren’t you ready?” He replies, “I got frustrated because I didn’t anticipate I would have trouble tying my shoes." The three-year-old already understood the comprehension of the concept. Children are very attentive and really observe what they watch in their surroundings. Therefore, he was able to use the vocabulary his

dad used and found an appropriate situation that explained his application of the meaning. When children come to school there is a different kind of atmosphere that doesn’t always acknowledge the children’s specific talents they bring with them. In addition, since the academic structure is written more narrowly there is confusion that changes children’s behavior and may even affect their self-concept. Another example of teaching and learning from children, while providing an opportunity to express their knowledge, shows how they have experiences they can share. While mentoring an intern teacher, I had to observe and participate in 15.


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a second-grade classroom. There was a science lesson in progress and the teacher was discussing the chapter on flies. Children fell asleep, played with things at their desks, and did not focus on the lesson. The children were familiar with my presence since I observed once a week. I asked the teacher if I could help her and liven the class with more classroom participation. She was very willing to watch how I changed the lesson. I wasn't sure what I would do, but I knew something had to change drastically for them to be engaged. So I stopped the fly chapter and told them we wouldn't study flies. I explained that I would teach them how to do certain things like choosing a science topic, rating them, and eliminating the topics they didn’t want to study. They would share what they wanted to explore, learn how to vote for their choices, and be limited to the most important topics. Finally, they would decide

through a vote. They chose to study cockroaches. (Not exactly what I wanted, but it was the children's choice.) One of the children with dyslexia knew many things about cockroaches, because he studied them at home. He said they were always in the house. I assigned him to be the class resource. That evening the teacher received a call from his mother and was so excited because he came home from school so happy that he was actually contributing and his classmates were coming to him for information. One decision can change a life! I have experienced that changes need to be made with how administrators and supervisors approach teachers and children, recognizing that teachers truly know what their students need, and how they can contribute to the classroom. There needs to be a mindset of collaboration rather than a mindset of supervision. As teachers we are shaping the lives of children and we may forget that what they know, and how they learn differently is an advantage to their education and life choices. More alternative approaches to learning, especially in literacy, should be introduced. A change in the philosophy of how children with special needs learn acknowledging their strengths and talents, needs to be part of a paradigm shift, which means a change in belief about what children can and cannot do.

struggle academically, I am drawn to share information on famous people like Sir Richard Branson. He has dyslexia and was told he was lazy. Still, today has used his dyslexia, as "a superpower" and is the CEO of many companies. Some of Richard Branson’s employees have dyslexia. Henry Winkler, an actor, also has dyslexia and his parents and teachers called him lazy and dumb. However, today he is very well respected as an actor receiving an Emmy Award. Comedian Jay Leno struggled in school because of his dyslexia and was told by his guidance counselor that he should drop out of school. However, Mr. Leno had a successful career and has used his success in philanthropic ways. Olympic diver Greg Louganis, who won four Olympic gold medals and one silver, was bullied in school for having dyslexia. He taught himself to read to overcome his dyslexia. So many more people are not encouraged to grow and need to be recognized for their knowledge and skills. We as educators must change the way we teach and the philosophy underlying how we teach, and provide alternative approaches based on a different belief system. That new mindset can influence the children and adults who learn differently to recognize their own dreams and contributions that will make a difference in their lives, which may also change the lives of others around them.

As I reflect on how people can be misjudged because they Write, Read & Lead Magazine


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What your Child Eats Impacts their Learning Capacity

We are what we eat; what your child eats matters. Are you fortifying your child's body with fast, cheap, easy, and fake food? Or are you buying the finest quality organic fruits and veggies and grass-fed grass-finished meats? Are you cooking so that you control what your child eats? Their bodies are growing and constantly changing throughout their youth. To build strong bodies and brains, they need all the phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins

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available in fruits, vegetables, and pastured meats. Why is this important for the dyslexic child? Eating for nutrition directly impacts their brain and reading abilities. Dyslexia is a learning disability. Scientists indicate that diet may play a key role in managing this disorder. Diet also impacts ADHD, which is closely related, and often the child

is afflicted with both. ADHD impacts the child's ability to concentrate, which directly impacts their ability to read. What we are feeding our children is often a bleak diet of fructose, diet and sugar pop, chemicals, and artificial additives in processed and fast foods in the US. This diet is increasing disease in our children.


Eat organic if possible. Do not give your child an unhealthy dose of pesticides and herbicides with every bite Fatty liver disease is on the rise in children setting the dismal stage for liver transplants, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and abnormal cholesterol in their later life. In addition, we are feeding our kids what is called the Standard American Diet (the SAD). This popular diet is loaded with CRAP (Carbonated, Refined, Artificial, Processed) substances with little food value.


The impacts of the SAD on our children are chronic illness, learning difficulties including the ability to read, ADHD, low energy, depression, and more. When we feed children the Rainbow Diet, where 75% of the foods eaten are fruits and vegetables, we ensure that the child eats the full spectrum of colors in whole foods. Over 25,000 phytonutrients in these foods work

together to create health. Processed and fast foods do not provide the child these needed nutrients. Add quality protein. I recommend meat that has consumed that animal’s own species-specific diet- grassfed grass-finished beef or bison, pastured pork, chicken, and lamb, wild fish including wild salmon, and pastured eggs add to a child's brainpower, health, and energy. Eating these foods improves focus and concentration. Eating whole foods is critical to support your child's ability to learn and read. Eat organic if possible. Do not give your child an unhealthy dose of pesticides and herbicides with every bite. Refer to EWG.org's Dirty Dozen list to buy those organic if you have budget restrictions. Include omega-3 oils, which are crucial for cognizance, and your child will have the nutrition to improve his energy and ability to learn. "The identification of the nature and extent of the role of nutrition is important because it is one factor that

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can be modified in order to optimize cognitive development." Include exercise and foster good sleeping habits, and you are on your way to rearing a healthy child. Studies have shown that dyslexic children have deficient omega-3 levels in their bodies. Quality food is code for your child's brain. Each color in the rainbow signifies different phytonutrients that build a strong body, immune system, and brain. Eating the rainbow also impacts the child's mood. What we eat is also what our gut micropia eat. The gutbrain axis determines our mood. The gut organisms that we foster send chemical signals to our brain. Since we are what we eat, we need to

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emphasize eating plenty of plant foods to help our children be healthy and happy. A positive mood enhances the child's ability to learn to read. Blue-purple foods are excellent sources of brain-protective antioxidants. For example, eating berries can keep the mind sharp and focused. To achieve maximum benefit in the child's body, they also need red, orange, yellow, green, and white foods. The phytonutrients in these different colors create a synergy for health. Have you ever seen a rainbow with only one color? How to enroll your child in eating for nutrition? Take them with you to the farmers market or grocer. Have them pick out fruits and vegetables in all the colors for the week's meals. Please include them in the preparation of the food. Once they break the addiction to the SAD and CRAP, they will enjoy the fruits and vegetables in their meal planning. They will begin to feel the difference in their energy, learning capability, and reading ability. These practices teach them the importance of eating for their future health and happiness and enroll them in the process. In addition, by cooking and eating real, whole foods, you avoid food additives that hinder learning. The SAD has additives, food colorings, preservatives, artificial flavors, and other harmful chemicals that add no value and are addictive. These ingredients impede your child's health and learning. Studies show

that these additives are partially responsible for ADHD. If you cannot pronounce it or do not know the ingredient, your child's body will not either. It is also possible that your child has a food sensitivity that interrupts their learning. A food sensitivity is different from an allergy and creates inflammation which causes brain fog. Brain fog hinders concentration and reading. The best food sensitivity test, in my opinion, is by Genova Diagnostics, but some conventional pediatricians might not be familiar with sensitivities and won't order the test. If you experience this, there is a test that you can order and administer on your own that is available from Meridian Valley in Seattle, WA, and a 1-hour consultation comes with the test results. Once you know your child's food sensitivities, they can be avoided in your child's diet. A researcher in New Zealand has discovered a food sensitivity in many dyslexic children called Salicylates. For a list of these foods please refer to "Dyslexia and Food Sensitivities Possible culprits - Cheryl M Health Muse" (https:// cherylmhealthmuse.com/dyslexiaand-food-sensitivities-possibleculprits/). First, eliminate them all for 30 days. Then, add them back in one at a time and monitor if there is an improvement in your child's learning and reading. A few other thoughts. All these things have been shown to impact concentration and literacy. Check for Gluten sensitivity. 23.

Check for adequate Vitamin D levels and zinc levels with your pediatrician. Lower the toxic load in their environment. Look up foods, cleaners, personal care products, fragrances, and water in the EWG.org database and trade out products for lower toxic items. Eliminate plastic for water bottles and storage. Each toxin eliminated is a step closer to health. Toxins impact the child's brain and slow down the ability to read. Toxins cause inflammation, creating more brain fog in the child,

hindering learning, and reading. "It's important to fill your child's diet with a variety of nutrientdense , whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein foods all offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your child's nutrition, along with other essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants. It is also particularly important for children with developmental dyslexia that any treatable nutritional deficiencies should be diagnosed. Controlled trials find that vitamin

and mineral supplements improve intelligence scores and brain-function tests and reduce brain-wave abnormalities." Improving your child's diet will build their future health and learning foundation. Also, manage and eliminate environmental toxins in food and your home. All these strategies will improve your child's reading skills.

Cheryl Meyer AKA Cheryl M Health Muse Cheryl Meyer suffered from autoimmune disease. By eliminating hundreds of toxins, she reversed her pain. Cheryl has a BA from UC-Berkeley and is a health coach from IIN. Cheryl is an award-winning author, international bestseller, health coach, speaker, local tv host and podcaster. Cheryl has written 4 books on health and toxins available on Amazon and has her own podcast It Feels Good to Feel Good, Futureproof Your Health on Voice America. Her website


is https://cherylmhealthmuse. com She specifically works with clients with chronic illness giving them hope and helping them find solutions. It is never too late to start healthy habits.

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Interview with Manny


anuel Infante (Manny) was a reading student of mine when he was in 9th grade. He struggled with reading in all his subjects because of his dyslexia. Occasionally his teachers made exceptions to his assignments and he was able to watch videos to complete his work instead of reading the material. I distinctly remember that he chose “The Diary of Anne Frank” when he had to choose a book to read at the end of the program. He told me that he passed the unit in his English class because he saw the movie, The Diary of Anne Frank, but he really wanted to read the book. After completing the program, he felt so accomplished being able to read the book. I recently caught up with Manny who told me he had completed two certificate programs in the nursing industry and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Currently he is enrolled in the Master’s program in Education at Sacramento State University. After many

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years, he agreed to share his experiences and update me on his accomplishments.

Dr. Stone: It is really wonderful to reconnect with you after so many years. Your life has changed in positive ways. I wanted you to share with The Write Read Lead Magazine readers how the literacy program, Write Read Lead, impacted your life. My first question reflects back to your being a struggling 9th grader. What was the most important thing that the Write Read Lead program did to help you change your life?

Manny: The program geared lessons, vocabulary, and opened up my life experiences and helped me understand that I had the potential to attend college.

Manny: I knew that the remedial classes I was taking wouldn’t qualify for admission into a four-year university, which was ultimately my goal. I knew I would have to enroll in required courses and needed knowledge about the process to complete the SAT or ACT entrance exams. There was no college prep discussion in any of my special education courses. Once I was in high school, teachers didn’t map out a plan. My high school goal was to attend college, and I began that journey.

Dr. Stone: You actually did your own research. How did you get the special education committee to put you into the required classes? And was that after you completed the Write Read Lead program?

Dr. Stone: Knowing that you didn’t have an opportunity to realize what happens in college or how to prepare for college, how did you pursue that objective?


After I graduated from high school, I wanted to become a nurse. That was my ultimate goal.


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Manny: Yes, I did my own research. There was a specific way that I had to transition to required classes and I knew I wouldn’t have access to that information being in the special education curriculum. I told my mom and my teachers on the committee that I no longer wanted to be in special education courses. However, as my goal was to attend college, I wanted to enroll in your program to prepare myself for standard curricula education classes.

Dr. Stone: So you received the information on attending college while you were in high school?

Manny: Yes, it was a long journey. After I graduated from high school, I wanted to become a nurse. That was my ultimate goal. I started at Sacramento City College. There were several different career paths I considered. I furthered my studies to become a certified phlebotomist and remained in that career for six years. During that time, I enrolled at Southwestern College for additional nursing courses, but something was missing in my life. I took a couple of classes in child development and found a passion for early childhood education. It gave me an opportunity to do things that changed children’s lives. So, I enrolled at Southwestern College to complete my general education program while home in San Diego.

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Dr. Stone: What prompted you to want to teach after your career as a phlebotomist?

Manny: I was always influenced by educators. My 4th- 6th-grade special education teacher was amazing and gave me personal one-on-one attention. She introduced the dictionary and thesaurus and showed me how to use them. Because of my difficulty with reading, spelling, and math, she set me up for success. I really had a good experience while in her classroom.

Dr. Stone: You didn’t get the individual remedial attention you needed once you left the 6th-grade?

Manny: No, I didn’t receive the attention I needed. I wanted to help other children like me. I have always had a passion for teaching children. I wanted to be someone that a child could emulate. I have a deep interest in wanting to learn and setting up young minds to pursue their dreams and hopes knowing that they can overcome their challenges.

Dr. Stone: Because you overcame yours.

Manny: Yes! Exactly! I struggled; I still struggle. I know I have to work extra hard. I am driven to succeed and look at my accomplishments. I am literally living my dream from childhood. My dream was to become an educator, and I was


proud to graduate from college with honors. I graduated Magna Cum Laude, something that I never thought I would be able to do. However, it gave me the confi dence to pursue a Master’s degree.

Dr. Stone: That’s incredible.

Manny: It gave me a higher sense of self-esteem. Having a learning disability--not knowing how to read at 7th and 8th grade--and then going into high school and not knowing simple words or how to spell or comprehend what I was reading was incredibly challenging. I felt isolated, diff erent, and overwhelmed. I felt defi cient and inadequate while in school. I knew that I wanted to achieve. I had hopes and dreams that I wanted to accomplish. In order to get to where I wanted to be, I knew that I needed to develop some type of skill set in reading and writing to continue my higher education.

Dr. Stone: What are you doing now? What direction did you think you wanted to go beyond your college education?

Manny: It led me to be an assistant in a classroom while attending Junior College, learning about protocols and everything that includes running a classroom. I have been in three different classroom settings which resulted in having my own classroom. I studied the curricula working with families and children with social and emotional needs, learning disabilities, and speech therapy. I assisted children with interventions by implementing different strategies so they could be successful in the classroom.

Dr. Stone: You told me you are a Master Teacher.

Manny: Yes, once I moved to Sacramento I was interviewed for a preschool teacher position, but was told I had enough qualifications and background to be a Master Teacher which was also an open position. I was offered the Master Teacher position, and I accepted.

the morning. Then, for the remaining four hours, I am with Kindergarten, First, and Second graders. We also have an afterschool program. The school’s philosophy is to align its school work with the after-school program so we are reinforcing classroom lessons.

Dr. Stone: Manny, I want to thank you for this interview. If you could summarize what the Write Read Lead program gave you, what would you say?

Manny: It provided the anchor for me to fulfill my dreams and know I am capable and can overcome any doubts about myself. Thank you— I really appreciate sharing what I’m doing now with you. Even though I am always learning, I feel accomplished and proud of myself.

I am currently an assistant manager at a private school. I teach preschool for three hours in

Manny: I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Education majoring in childhood and adolescent development.

Dr. Stone: Where has the child development direction led you?


Write, Read & Lead Magazine

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES OR ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES Call 858.775.7889 or email info@writereadlead.org

To my dear

Dr. Suki I

am writing to you to thank you for your work with my child, Miles. Before I get into the specifics, I would like to give your readers a little background about myself and my wife, so that people understand how big of a deal your training is. I have a degree in Elementary Education and Reading, a minor in Special Education and a minor in Theatre. I have worked as a reading specialist, kindergarten teacher, 2nd-grade teacher, middle school physical education,

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middle school woodshop (quite possibly the most fun one can have when working with students and power tools), middle school alternative programs and high school resource room.

and CEOs, middle school students, and mid-level managers. As a result, I have a wealth of experience working with people from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds.

I am currently a professional speaker, trainer, and coach working with schools and organizations on creating positive workplace culture and increased communication and empathy by using play as a catalyst. I have spoken to well over a million people. I have worked with 5-year-olds

My wife is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist who works with special needs children in a public school in Eastern Washington. She has a pre-med degree with a minor in chemistry and psychology. She went to Chiropractic school for a year and had all the required prerequisites for nursing, dental


hygiene, and physical therapy. She has a special ability to work with extremely challenging students and give them skills that increase their ability to succeed in the classroom and in life. She is nothing short of a genius saint! With all of that being said, we hit a major roadblock when it came to teaching our son 36.

how to read. Miles is very bright. He is a great artist. He loves to play. He can follow Lego building directions to create massive structures. He loves playing Minecraft with his friends so he can create worlds for others to enjoy. He is very kind and considerate and has a very loving heart. Miles can talk your ear off and is a great storyteller.

Miles also has dyslexia. Reading has been his Achilles heel from the very beginning of his schooling. He has had virtually no teachers who understand why he has a difficulty and why he has a hard time reading. They kept pushing phonics even though it was quite clear that he saw things differently. My wife and I worked diligently every day

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“neurotypical” and “has a much higher chance of becoming a drug addict and going to jail” (I wish I were kidding, but I am not. AND we are no longer at that school.), I reached out to Dr. Suki.

with flashcards, letters, sounds, blends, digraphs, CVC words etc. all in an attempt to get Miles up to grade level. We were almost at our breaking point. We suff ered through tears, meltdowns, anger, stubbornness, avoidance, refusals, and virtually any excuse not to have to practice reading that you can think of! When the school principal told us that he was not

Dr. Suki agreed to fly up and meet me, Miles, my brother-in-law and nephew, who also worked with Dr. Suki. As a reading specialist, I was familiar with many of Dr. Suki's strategies. However, how she structured, combined, and taught was the real magic. Dr. Suki’s rapport with the kids was immediate and long lasting. Her ability to talk with and listen to kids about their experiences was some of the coolest things I have seen in education! The way they opened up to her and got excited about reading their stories was purely magical. Her ability to help students engage with their own story and the fact that they are learning because they already have knowledge about the subject! Why are we not doing this with students in the general education classroom is beyond me!

Suki, Miles and my nephew both showed marked improvement in their reading skills. The biggest difference I saw was Miles's attitude toward reading and writing, AND his obvious adoration for Dr. Suki. I sit here almost a year later and Miles routinely references Dr. Suki’s teaching and reminds us that we need to sit down and help him the way Dr. Suki did. Miles received a batch of cookies from Dr. Suki about six weeks after our sessions. He still talks about them! I will forever be grateful to Dr. Suki and her reading method for changing how my son views his different reading abilities. She is nothing short of a miracle worker and her method works. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We adore you!


Geoff McLachlan

Founder of Professionals at Play. Speaker, Trainer, Coach

After a week with Dr. 37.



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