Dyslexic Tutoring for Lyla

I looked Lyla’s grades up tonight and saw she’d made a 78 in reading and a 98 in math (her favorite subject next to art). I was thrilled. Her reading grade was higher than I’d expected given that her grades throughout the quarter have fluctuated between failing and barely passing grades. With the last grade being the highest I’ve seen all quarter. She’s worked very hard.

“Lyla! You did great on your EQT’s!”

“Really? What did I make?” I told her. Her face fell. Her eyes got glassy, as tears threatened to spill.

“Hunny a 78 is awesome!”

She looked confused. “You don’t care that it’s not a B or an A?”

I smiled. “Not a bit! A 78 is a C and a C means you passed!” And to be honest. I had expected a much worse grade. She’s dyslexic. Grades do not reflect her aptitude.

“Mom. I really don’t like reading. It’s so hard and sometimes the letters move and I can’t keep them straight and they don’t always make sense. I try really hard but it just keeps getting harder.”

“I know... How about over Christmas break we do some of the lessons Landon did for tutoring on the computer?” Even though I know Lyla and her brother have totally different dyslexia issues I thought it would still help and this is something we could afford to do since the computer program is already paid for.

Lyla’s entire face changed. She sat up in bed. “You mean I get to go to tutoring and learn to read like Landon does?! Mom that would be awesome.” She jumped up and down in excitement. “Can I go tomorrow with Landon? Tomorrow is tutoring day right?”

My heart stopped beating and I wanted the earth to swallow me whole. Landon goes to tutoring by scholarship through grandparents and it’s almost a second mortgage payment. We can’t ask them to help with both kids.

“No baby.” I spoke softly. “We can’t afford to send you.”
Tears threatened again. For both of us.
“I meant how about you do the computer sight word practice. On my computer?”

“Oh, ok.” she shrugged, her enthusiasm deflated. She considered my offer. “Can we start tonight?”

“No. You need to go to sleep you silly goose.”
I tucked her into bed, gave her a kiss on her forehead as she whispered. “I wish I could read my books on my own. Like all my friends do. Like Landon can.”

I closed the door, looked at our Christmas tree, hearing her wish replaying in my mind, and bawled.

Josh has been out of work since last June when his pharmacy closed their doors. I have been battling health issues that landed me in the hospital for a week, nearly killing me, and I am still recovering. Josh is daily on every single site for recruiters, head hunters, business networking and has sent out around 150 applications, resumes, cold calls. You name it he’s done it. Even gone knocking on doors to sell insurance to people. We’re scraping by with the help of parents, friends, government assistance, odd jobs, and the grace of God, praying for a job with a regular paycheck and believing it will come. But so far it hasn’t.

Lyla has dyslexia and her C grades in school are due to her incredible teachers and her tremendous determination to succeed. Her teachers have been allowed to read for her when she struggles these past two quarters. The 78 is high but don't let it fool you. It's just one test. Her overall GPA is only 72. To stay at her incredible art school she needs a 70. Otherwise she gets kicked back to her district school which will not be able to accomodate her needs. The art school she goes to is the perfect place for a dyslxic and creative student like Lyla but as it is magnet the grades are required to maintain enrollment. Next quarter Lyla has to read everything all on her own. The teachers are no longer allowed to help due to the requirements of standarized testing next quarter. The tides of reading curriculum are about to rise. Without tutoring to stand in the gap for her, to teach her how to decode, how to overcome, she'll drown in a sea of words. I just went through this with her older brother. Believe me, I know exactly what's about to happen. 

In order to help Lyla we need to learn which type of dyslexia she has and place her in tutoring. This means Josh and I need to come up with $3,400 to pay for a full dyslexia testing, consultation/assessment fees, and hourly tutoring costs through the end of the school year to give her the tools to overcome. This is something we cannot do when we do not have a steady job bringing in a paycheck. 

People keep asking us how they can help? If they can help? What do we need?

So I’m responding. We need help to make our little girl’s Christmas wish come true. Please help us give her the gift of reading. Help us send her to the dyslexia specific learning center.

Update as of Christmas: We raised enough to get her through the next school year quarter. She will start in January. We're still hoping to get fully funded, but thank you for this much! See the update to see how we told Lyla on Christmas Eve or find me on facebook to watch the video.
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,180 
    • 45 mos
  • Leslie Nassar 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Stephen Savage 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Lynn Oldshue 
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
See all


Jennifer Widemire Smith 
Mobile, AL
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