This has got to be the best “reading tale” to come out of the National Down Syndrome Congress conference in Denver last weekend. It’s about one mom’s brilliant solution (pun intended) for noncompliance!

This Little Light of Mine

After giving two workshops on my book “Down Syndrome Parenting 101,” I would man (woman?) my reading booth, teaching and explaining my reading books. I had decided for this conference to order personalized pens to give away. But not just any pens; this one has a little flashlight in the top. One mom who had bought my Pre-Primer Reading Bundle for her 6-year-old son on Friday returned Saturday and blew me away with her story.

Bad Mood Bert


“My son was in a terrible mood last night, and I knew I shouldn’t try to show him your five picture books, but I couldn’t wait to try them out,” she said. “So I got out the Spaghetti book. I tried to get him to read the first page, “I like spaghetti.” I only got as far as “I”, and he turned his head away and managed to say “I” through gritted teeth. I knew this was going to be a disaster because he was in such a bad mood; then I suddenly remembered your flashlight pen. My son loves flashlights. So I got out the pen and gave it to him. His mood instantly changed, like flipping a switch! Using the flashlight like a laser pointer, he read through each word in Spaghetti. Then he pointed to the next book: ‘This for me!’ he said. When we finished that one, he pointed to the next book: ‘This for me!’ He read through all five books! I couldn’t believe it!”

A Brilliant Solution

It took a minute for this to sink in before it dawned on me, “That’s brilliant! Brilliant! What a great “pointer” to use!” I’m always encouraging parents to have their child use a pointer [unsharpened pencil, eraser end down] while learning to read. It’s ideal for tracking both the student’s accuracy and focus, and keeps the child the correct distance from the page: no point-finger-and-keep-nose-to-paper habit that I sometimes see in students.

So this child’s love of flashlights was both a mood changer and a game changer! His mom was so excited that she ignited the same enthusiasm in two other moms who were standing at my booth, waiting to order the Pre-Primer Bundle. They both said, “…and include a flashlight pen with my order!”

Looks like I may have to make that a part of my Pre-Primer Bundle!

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine-



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