Weston Connors had a lucky head start when it came to identifying his dyslexia—his father dealt with the learning difference in school, so his parents were vigilant for signs of reading difficulties starting at a very young age. We spoke with his mother, Kasey, about how accessible audiobooks have empowered and motivated her son to excel in school.
Kasey explains that they watched and waited through kindergarten to see if Weston would begin to read on his own. “Mid-year first grade is when I couldn’t stand it anymore. All his friends were reading and he was losing interest in school. His teacher kept saying, ‘It’ll come, he’ll start reading eventually’, but it never came.”
Rather than wait for the school to catch up with Weston’s needs, Kasey took a proactive approach and had him privately tested in first grade. “In our district they don’t start testing for any type of learning disability until 2nd grade, which means the student has failed all through first grade and has not had much success.” The causes of Weston’s reading difficulties were confirmed when he was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. Fortunately, the early diagnosis meant Weston could begin accessing the right educational tools before he fell too far behind in school.
Weston’s clinical psychologist recommended a number of things to assist with his dyslexia, including Learning Ally audiobooks, which he started using in second grade. While Weston was unable to read at grade-level on his own, his comprehension was exceptionally high when he listened to information: “If you read a book to him, he could pull any fact out of it.” It was clear that this wasn’t a matter of intelligence—Weston just needed the right tools to decode the written word.
The change Kasey observed after Weston started using audiobooks was dramatic. “His ability to actually read by himself wasn’t true to the knowledge inside his head,” she says. “He just couldn’t pull it out of the printed text on his own. With Learning Ally he started to find success that he had never had before, and he just took off with it.”
In third grade, Weston was commended as an accelerated reader and, now entering the fifth grade, he has been on the honor roll ever since. He was also elected treasurer of his class, a responsibility he is excited to take on.
“All of this could have never come to fruition had he not had the success that came with using Learning Ally,” Kasey says. “Once he started getting good grades, he wanted to achieve more and more. If you start them young they’re going to have the thirst for more knowledge.”
Weston is currently up to eighth-grade level books and enjoys reading about a wide range of subjects, including science, history, fishing, and biographies. Kasey feels confident that Weston’s enthusiasm for learning will continue, now that it has been unlocked: “The audiobooks give him the little edge that he needed desperately, and you can’t stop him now; he’s a freight train. He will do anything to stay on that honor roll.”