An improved reading ability opens a whole world of possibilities to Charlie

Jul 2021

When eight-year-old Charlie joined the Kumon Kingswinford Study Centre at the beginning of 2020, he very much struggled with reading. It was a hurdle that was understandably frustrating for him and one that concerned his parents, as his confidence and progress at school was suffering as a result. Now, 18 months on, Charlie's transformation is delighting his family and his Kumon Instructor, Emma. No longer fearful of making mistakes, Charlie now actively and independently chooses books from the shelf! His latest novel of choice is ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'. Charlie’s parents are delighted with his newfound love of reading and the incredible progress he’s made through studying the Kumon English Programme.

Charlie’s mother, Rebecca, discovered Kumon through her work colleague and friend, whose son was also struggling with his English ability and had made considerable progress since joining Kumon. Already aware of the Kingswinford study centre venue (located within her old high school), Rebecca decided to take matters in hand and approached Kumon Instructor, Emma for advice.

Reflecting on Charlie’s initial enrolment with Kumon and the progress he’s since made, Rebecca told us,

“When Charlie was halfway through Year 2, as parents we were concerned about how he would pass his upcoming SATS because he struggled to read and therefore, understand the questions. He was also making repeated mistakes in his spellings at school. We saw Charlie become frustrated with his ability and we were frustrated and very concerned for him too.

However, I can confidently say that as soon as we enrolled Charlie with Kumon, his Instructor, Emma took control of Charlie’s English study and supported him greatly. Emma has been a great Instructor and eased our frustration and pressure. When she noticed Charlie progressing under her guidance and start to read with more confidence, she steadily started to increase the difficulty of his level of work and encouraged and recommended him books to read from Kumon’s recommended reading list. Charlie would choose his preferred book and at the start, he would read one page a day.

As parents, we observed and were thrilled by Charlie’s progress, but his grandparents were astounded by how far he has come in a matter of months, after seeing the difficult books Charlie now chooses to read after school! Small incremental steps and enabling Charlie to decide what to read helped him to take ownership of his reading, and this developed his confidence considerably. As a family who loves to read, it was a pleasure and relief to see Charlie’s love for reading develop.”  

Like all students, Charlie started the Kumon English Programme at his own, individually set starting point and was able to progress at his own comfortable pace. By studying consistently every day, Charlie practised his skills and learned to take ownership of his learning, both in English and across all his schoolwork.

Charlie said, “I couldn’t read properly before joining Kumon, but daily study gave me plenty of practice to progress through the levels. I have recommended Kumon to all my friends and family. At school, I can complete my work confidently and I now love to read. I’ve read two sets of the Beast Quest books by Adam Blake and Captain Underpants books, while Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl is one of my all-time favourites.”

Rebecca added, “Charlie’s school teacher used to be a Kumon class assistant when she was a teenager and is a big advocate of the programme. Charlie has progressed considerably in his English schoolwork and completes his work independently with confidence. He has developed a good study routine and completes both his homework and Kumon daily after school. Kumon has certainly instilled the importance of hard work and practice in him. I’m very proud of Charlie’s achievements in a relatively short space of time; as parents, we hope that the discipline and practice he has gained from Kumon study will help him when sitting his SATs and 11+ exams and beyond.”

At Kumon, Instructors instil confidence by encouraging their students to have a go and to endeavour to work out answers by themselves using the examples and their learning from previous questions. Learning from doing it for oneself is powerful and increases the self-belief of the child.

Instructor Emma is extremely proud of Charlie’s achievements saying,
"I am incredibly proud of Charlie’s progress and determination on the Kumon English Programme during the last 18 months. What a journey it has been! As Charlie’s Instructor, I feel very honoured and proud to have him as a student at my centre, especially during a pandemic that has only enabled him to be online for the most part. I have seen Charlie develop his self-belief and confidence, which has fuelled his love for reading. Charlie started the English programme reading and tracing simple words and sentences, but now nine levels later he can read fluently with beautiful expression and tone, construct his own sentences independently and is a confident self-learner. I could listen to Charlie read for hours – he is a pleasure to have at class – a real credit to his parents. Well done Charlie – keep reading, keep believing and above all, keep smiling!”

Rebecca commented, “Without Emma’s continued support and guidance, I doubt Charlie would have progressed as much as he has done over the past 17 months. When he first joined Kumon, Emma encouraged Charlie to ‘have a go’ and overcome his fears of making a mistake, stressing that making mistakes is how one learns. Emma remained in contact throughout the pandemic and offered set, online study classes. The lessons continued to work well; there is no difference in instruction whether the classes are online or in-centre. Thank you, Emma.”

Now a prolific reader, Charlie looks forward to continuing his Kumon study. He has progressed leaps and bounds in school, is now a confident self-learner, and aspires to one day reach completion of the Kumon English Programme!

Well done Charlie; keep up the fantastic work!