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LearningQuest offering first youth program, KidsQuest, to help kids with dyslexia

Javana Reading


OCTOBER 10, 2019 12:16 PM, UPDATED OCTOBER 10, 2019 03:56 PM

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Learn more about KidsQuest 


Javana Veras remembers pretending to read chapter books in second grade so she could sit on the beloved reading bench with her friends.

“They were reading chapter books, and I was still reading baby books,” the now-13-year-old said.

She didn’t know dyslexia was the root of her reading challenges, but she knew she wanted to fit in.

Dyslexia is more than a reading difficulty — it’s a brain disorder. Often, children’s struggles go unrecognized. LearningQuest is starting a pilot program, KidsQuest, to identify children with dyslexia and provide prompt help.

“We’re introducing this new program to help kids with dyslexia get some help with tutoring,” said Karen Williams, executive director of LearningQuest, which has an office in downtown Modesto.

She said the program provides individual, intensive tutoring some families couldn’t afford otherwise. The tutoring adds to services provided by schools.

LearningQuest is a nonprofit organization that traditionally has offered literacy programs for adults in Stanislaus County. KidsQuest is its first program specifically for children, and all staff are volunteers.

Starting KidsQuest in October is perfect timing because it’s Dyslexia Awareness Month. Worldwide this month, dyslexia organizations try to promote understanding of the disorder and rally support for affected individuals.

KidsQuest is open to children in second through sixth grades. To enroll, students must undergo screening at LearningQuest using a formal evaluation process to document that they have dyslexia.

The next screening session will be held at LearningQuest’s Modesto office on Saturday.

“Additional support for screening was provided by SLD, Specific Learning Disability, Foundation,” said Denise Nordell, coordinator for KidsQuest.

Nordell said Specific Learning Disability, a local foundation, was underwriting some of the costs of screenings because it felt KidsQuest would be a valuable community resource. The Friends of the Modesto Library also contributed to help defray the costs.

KidsQuest is free to students who qualify with the screening. The tutoring program includes twice-weekly sessions at the Stanislaus County Library in Modesto, a longstanding partner with LearningQuest.