Congratulations Zachary J. from The Woodlands, TX on being named the February Star of the Month. Zachary is an eighth-grade student at Knox Junior High who has dyslexia and struggles with memorization. His teacher, Ms. Brown, saw Zachary's potential, and he is now up to a 5th grade reading level. Zachary was named Star of the month for his tenacity and tremendous growth this past year. This story of Zachary's triumphs was shared with us by Ms. Brown. 

Zachary has been in and out of reading intervention programs since early elementary. He is dyslexic, but also has a memorization deficit that impacts him greatly. He has a difficult time remembering information unless he hears and sees it multiple times. Therefore, simple sight words are a bit of an enigma to him. At the beginning of 7th grade, we were told by previous teachers that he was removed from further dyslexic interventions because he was not able to remember the information from day to day. Knowing what I know about the brain, research based interventions, and maturity, I knew that he was not a lost cause. As an 8th grader at the age of 15, he was on the path to becoming a dropout, and I could not let him exit to high school with that on my shoulders. I immediately started with interventions of sight word repetition, read alouds, choral reading, and repeated reading. Read Naturally Live has helped him grow as a reader, but it has also boosted his confidence. His fluency on repeated readings in the program have increased from cold times in the 40's, to hot times in the 90's, with very limited errors. His comprehension has improved. And his expression! He no longer reads word by word, but reads with expression! And - he has gone from a 1st grade to a 5th grade text in a year. Overall, his prosody has improved vastly. We attribute much of his success to the use of the Read Naturally program. The repeated readings and read alouds have helped. Zach says he is "happy that someone finally believed enough in him to help him." His sports coaches have even commented and said that his confidence is much higher today than it was last year, and much of that is due to his success in his classes now. Although he is still struggling with memorization, he is learning strategies to help him, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to teach him just as much as he has taught me!

The Read Naturally Star Student of the Month program is designed to celebrate students who work hard to improve their reading skills using Read Naturally's intervention programs. Each month, we select one student to feature in our newsletter. The selected student wins a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, and the school or teacher who nominated the student receives a $200 gift certificate for Read Naturally materials.