How a simple phrase changed the course of my life.


No one wakes up knowing that their life is about to change.

I was working at a high school with one of my one-on-one tutoring students, teaching  a program based on this new approach (or so I thought –  it’s actually one of the oldest and most trusted approaches  for working with struggling readers) the Orton-Gillingham approach. This student was just starting to see progress, words were finally starting to make sense to him and he was having some success in his regular classes. That’s when it happened. He looked at me and said, “I wish I had learned this when I was younger, then I wouldn’t have had to struggle for so long”. Wow. I finished up the lesson, and finished up my day. On the commute home I got to thinking…how could I help get this approach to young students, to stop the struggle?

I immediately started researching how to open a business and get started tutoring. I started a private tutoring clinic and had clients flowing in. I had so many clients that I couldn’t possibly accommodate them all. I had a waiting list and felt guilty each time I told a parent that I couldn’t fit their child in. I was speaking to my daughter, Sara about it and we began to brainstorm ways that we could fix this problem. So off Sara went to get trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Over the following few years, Sara developed the Aardvark Program. A reading and spelling program that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach, along with physical activities to keep children active and engaged in their learning (shameless mom-boasting alert: she also has her Master’s degree in Human Kinetics so she knows a little bit about physical activity too!).

If you’re wondering how that allowed us to reach more young struggling readers than my tutoring clinic ever could, I’ll tell you. We put the program online in a number of different formats. There’s a program for tutors to get trained in order to open their own clinics, there’s a program for parents to train themselves to work with their own children and there will eventually be a program for adults who continue to struggle with reading and spelling.  Wow. What a great time we live in that knowledge can be shared so easily.

So now you know the WHY. Why do we do what we do? We do what we do because we know how well this program works and we want to share it with as many people as possible so that they can help struggling readers; whether they are dyslexic, ADD/ADHD or are simply having trouble learning the way schools are teaching.

When the light turns on in a child it is a wonderful feeling for everyone.

Do you think you could make a difference in the life of a struggling reader? Of course it is up to you to decide but for what it’s worth, I know you can!

If you’d like to see more of what we do CLICK HERE to see the free trial of our Intro to Aardvark program.  Simply click on the link, and then click the “Free Trial” option.

Janet Dorken



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