Happy Cheetah Reading

One Year Ago Today . . . Hope

A year ago, my mother went to a homeschooling conference. Although her own children are grown, she likes to keep tabs on what is happening in the homeschool world.

And she knew that I was getting no traction in reading with my son.

So she went to all the tables with remedial reading programs, and went to all the lectures by different speakers on reading delays and remedial learning and various challenges.

She even sent me texts periodically through the weekend, but I had an ancient phone and an even more spotty data plan, and didn’t find that out until I headed into town a few days later.

But what I didn’t miss was when I talked to her on Sunday night, a year to the day from today.

My mother had approached Dr. Karen Holinga after one of Dr. Karen’s talks. I think she had met her at some point some years ago. On that day, she said, “Dr. Karen, my grandson can’t read.”

And Dr. Karen said, “Sarita, send your grandson to me, and I will teach him to read.”

I don’t know if I adequately convey to you the relief I felt in that moment. A year later, I am getting tears in my eyes thinking about it.

Because Dr. Karen said that without any qualifications. She didn’t ask how many programs my son had failed out of already. She didn’t need to determine the specific struggles he had. She simply had complete confidence that she could do it. And that confidence must have come from already helping other students, just like my son.

And I hung up the phone with my parents that night with the idea that reading might yet be possible. Despite all the frustrations and failures we’d had in the past, none of it mattered. Dr. Karen could yet help.

If Dr. Karen had said, “Move to a hotel nearby for a month,” I would have done it. Whatever it took.

In the end, although I first talked to Dr. Karen on April 16, it took a few months before I could get the necessary eye exam, before my son and I took a trip to Ohio, before he had the proper glasses, and before we started beta testing Dr. Karen’s Happy Cheetah Reading Program. It took until the early part of August before we were all ready to begin.

But from April 15 on, I had hope.

And if you’re in a place where you need some hope — it’s time to start hoping. I don’t have a box to ship you today.

But hope is coming.

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