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How It All Began

By Rodney Everson

My name is Rodney Everson, but I go by Rod. In 1998, I read a review of Why Our Children Can’t Read by Diane McGuinness and ordered her book from Amazon. That decision changed the path my life was to take. Eventually that path led to creating this website. If you have a child who is a poor reader, it is my hope that the experiences I share here will help you change your child’s life.

Ms. McGuinness has strong feelings about reading problems and expresses them clearly in her book. Her main point is that poor or non-existent phonics instruction is responsible for most reading problems. While I now disagree with her on that point, I acted on the recommendation in her book to investigate the Phono-Graphix method, which was developed by her son and daughter-in-law, Geoffrey and Carmen McGuinness.

Fortunately, they had published their own book, Reading Reflex, which was a reasonably complete parent guide to the Phono-Graphix method that they had developed. Amazon soon received another order from me and I continued my reading about reading. When I put this second book down, I said to my wife one morning, “I’d like to find someone to try this out on, because it seems to make a lot of sense.”

Well, you’ve really got to know my wife to appreciate what happened next. She hears a challenge, and she acts. She came home that night and her first words were, “I’ve got you three kids!” And she did, three brothers, all experiencing difficulty learning to read.

Author’s Note

Note The three brothers exist but, due to privacy considerations, most of the kids I discuss on this website will be fictional composites used to illustrate actual behaviors and issues that I have encountered in real life experiences while attempting to teach children to read.

The OnTrack Reading story progressed from those three brothers, to formal training in the Phono-Graphix method, to then opening a reading instruction business under the name of OnTrack Reading, and then to a close relationship with a local vision therapy department in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and eventually to the establishment of this website.

Designed by my son Matthew, owner of Astuteo in Madison, Wisconsin, draws on my experiences working with nearly 200 struggling readers ranging from 2nd graders to adults over the next decade.

Continue on with The OnTrack Reading Story if you want to see how it went with the Three Brothers.

About OnTrack Reading is a collection of free phonics resources developed over more than a decade of one-on-one student tutoring across all age groups. Also available for purchase here on the site is an inexpensive but comprehensive workbook-based phonics program that trains essential phonics skills, covers most spellings of English sounds, and includes a unique multisyllable decoding method.