Bryan's Story

Bryan‘s Story

Bryan was a student who struggled with academic concepts in both reading and math since he tested into our Varying Exceptionality program in first grade. With a severe Specific Learning Disability diagnosis, by third grade he had an “I can’t do this” attitude toward all subjects. He was a disruption to his homeroom class with whom he shared little in common. To his classmates he appeared as “just a dummy” who created annoying disturbances or as a foil to be ignored or ridiculed.

When Bryan reached third grade, a fellow teacher and I discovered Touch Math and began to teach it to our Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students. Bryan took to it immediately, partially because it appealed to his kinesthetic needs and also because it was concrete enough to make sense to him. Soon, he was captivated by the Touch Math way to count, add, and subtract.

One day as he ambled back to his homeroom for lunch, he looked at the addition problems on the boards and started writing down the correct answers, moving quickly from one to the next. The whole class was spellbound. Here was Bryan not only getting the problems correct, but doing it faster than they could do. Bryan told them it was magic. So, his teacher wrote a column of 8 numbers to add and Bryan computed the correct answer before anyone else in the class.

After that day, Bryan came to us to learn more and more math so he could dazzle and stump his homeroom classmates. He became a whiz at adding 20 numbers accurately and asked for more challenges. Soon, he was mastering subtraction, multiplication, and division and students came to him for help. Eventually, he showed them how to use Touch Math. His teacher came to us for instruction, and soon the whole third grade was using Touch Math. As teachers changed grade levels the following years, different grade levels used it.

Bryan still struggled with reading and language arts and he had to complete those assignments first before getting his math assignments. But he graduated from fifth grade with a strong math foundation and a better self-esteem knowing there was an area in which he excelled. Encouraged by Bryan’s success, we continued to teach students to use Touch Math from Pre-K to 5th grade.

— Carolyn White, ESE teacher 1985- present, Ocala, FL - National Board Teacher/Exceptional Needs Specialist 2003-2013

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