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From Dyslexia to Literacy with Fletcher

By Fletcher's Mum

My son Fletcher, who is eight years old, is a true bundle of joy with the kindest heart and a deep love for his family. He finds immense joy in gardening, bike riding, construction, and playing football! Alongside his passions, he navigates the challenges of dyslexia.

Fletcher with his homegrown lettuce and tomatoes.
Meet Fletcher. He just loves his vege garden.

As a mum to Fletcher, my journey alongside him from struggling with reading to embracing structured literacy has been nothing short of transformative. Fletcher, despite his dyslexia, has grown into a confident learner who now tackles new challenges in reading, writing, and spelling. This path has been filled with challenges, emotions, but above all, immense reward.

When Fletcher initially struggled with reading, it was heartbreaking to see him frustrated. We knew he needed a different approach, one that would unlock his potential while nurturing his love for learning. That is when we discovered the power of structured literacy, after reaching out to Liz Kane. Through her teaching approach which included lots of explicit teaching, repetition and most importantly, fun, Fletcher began to thrive.

One of our greatest discoveries was the Pip and Tim books and resources from Little Learners Love Literacy. Fletcher immediately connected with the characters and their adventures, which made learning engaging and enjoyable. His favourite character was initially Ron, with his funny slippers and his ability to eat 10 hotdogs!! Fletcher joyously identifies with the main character Tim, who, like him, also has brown hair, a dog and a sister! As a parent, I appreciate the teaching activities and storylines designed to captivate young minds while reinforcing essential literacy skills. The Code has been another invaluable resource, a true gem that has become essential in our home for teaching. It has benefited not only Fletcher but also my other children, aged 10 and 12.

While navigating Fletcher's dyslexia, there are days when the struggles are real, and it is important to acknowledge and address them with honesty and resilience.

Fletcher's Mum's top tips:

So, as a parent, doing my best to teach through a structured literacy approach, here are my “top tips,” if you, like me, want to support your child’s learning at home.

Be Realistic: 

Setting realistic time expectations has been crucial. Some days, Fletcher is highly engaged and eager to learn. On those days, we make the most of it, keeping the learning session fun and productive. Other days, he may not have the same level of focus, and that is ok. Keeping it short and manageable has been key on these days. We acknowledge his fatigue and respect his need for rest. By not forcing the issue, we maintain a positive attitude towards learning, knowing that tomorrow is another opportunity to try again.

These moments of struggle have taught me the importance of flexibility and patience. It's ok to have setbacks and difficult days. What matters is our ability to adapt (supporting Fletcher's emotional well-being too), and create an environment where learning can still be enjoyable/ beneficial, even on “off” days.


Consistency has been the foundation of our approach, thanks to Liz’s guidance. We maintain a structured learning routine, reviewing sounds and spellings from previous lessons before introducing anything new. This consistency provides stability, no surprises and reinforces his understanding, making each session build upon the last.

There are lots of ways to make learning fun, using resources like LEGO, magnets, and toys to support what you are teaching. At first, these things really engaged Fletcher, but now he is really comfortable with the routine of sitting at the table or by the fire at night with our whiteboard, book and sound pack.


Praise plays a vital role in Fletcher's motivation and confidence. Learning together has become quality time together, where each achievement, no matter how small, is celebrated. Fletcher loves learning new sounds, digraphs, and spelling patterns, applying them in his reading and writing.

In the beginning, each time Fletcher advanced through a stage (Little Learners Love Literacy and Liz Kane), he received a certificate from Liz, which made him feel incredibly special! He still proudly displays these certificates on his wall. Now he is on Stage 7, the progress has slowed a little because there is more to learn in each step of the scope and sequence. He has conquered 7.1 and will add a new certificate to the wall.

Fletcher holding his certificate.
Fletcher advancing through the stages.


We noticed Fletcher was becoming increasingly reluctant to write, despite his initial interest in "writing a story". One simple yet effective change has been switching from pencil and paper to a whiteboard. This adjustment has made a significant difference. Due to his dyslexia, Fletcher often writes quickly and makes mistakes. Erasing these mistakes on paper can be frustrating and time-consuming. The whiteboard allows him to wipe away errors quickly with his finger, reducing frustration and enabling him to continue learning without getting stuck on mistakes. While Fletcher still writes in books as required at school, whenever possible, we opt for the whiteboard method to enhance his writing experience.

We also incorporate Fletcher's interests into his learning. Whether it is football, his vegetable garden, ninjas, or bike riding, we integrate these themes into his writing and even into his dictations. This approach keeps him engaged and motivated to learn.

Be kind to yourself:

It is important to remember that our role as parents is to be loving and patient, and it's ok to have days where learning takes a back seat to other priorities. Taking this pressure off allows us to approach each learning opportunity with positivity and patience.


Fletcher thoroughly enjoys playing games, and integrating learning games like Ka-Blam and Read and Grab has been great fun. We have also made up our own bingo word games, which are equally as fun. During a game, his competitive edge shines through, and I don't think he realises he's "reading" and learning! If your child is a fan of UNO, they will love Ka-Blam!  

Fletcher playing a game of Ka-Blam with his mum.
Fun games is a key contributor to Fletcher's reading success.

These tips have really helped me support Fletcher:

I sincerely thank Liz Kane, whose guidance and teaching have been invaluable to our family. I tearfully and genuinely write this, as Liz's support has not only empowered Fletcher but has also equipped us with the tools and strategies to effectively support his learning. Liz advocates passionately for children across Aotearoa who, like Fletcher, have struggled within the school system under whole language. These children deserve the explicit teaching they need to learn how to read and receive the precious gift of literacy.  

Recently, I asked Fletcher how he feels about becoming a writer and reader. His response filled my heart with joy.

"It's good to be able to read things in class and feel like I'm just like my friends," he said with a smile.

A handwritten note from a student to his teacher.
A letter from Fletcher to Liz about the beach camp book from the Sam, Pip, and Tim series.

As we continue, I am filled with hope and gratitude. Fletcher's progress, even when slow, reminds me daily that with the right tools, encouragement, and a nurturing environment, every child can reach their full potential, regardless of their challenges. Be patient and keep consistent.



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