Scottish Rite funds reading education

For children with speech-language and reading disorders, getting through grade school can be difficult, and there is the fear that they could be left behind. But thanks to a partnership between the Scottish Rite Foundation and the ECU Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, those children aren’t falling through the cracks.

“If they’ve not become efficient readers (usually around the third grade), reading to learn is extremely difficult. That’s usually when the big problems show up,” said Lori Kincannon, clinical program coordinator and a clinical instructor at ECU’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic.

Above, ECU graduate student Kaylee Webb works with Payton Cutler on her reading skills.

With the funding from the The N.C. Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation, parents with children who are experiencing these reading difficulties can get them tested for speech-language or hearing disorders for a fraction of what it would normally cost. Once the child is tested, those at the clinic can work with them to overcome those speech-language or hearing disorders.

Payton Cutler is dyslexic and was one of those students who was falling behind. “We’ve had testing done with her, but the Scottish Rite has provided more in-depth type testing that allows us to know where she is at various levels, so then they (those at the clinic) know how to teach her the information and how she’s going to process the information,” said Payton’s mother, Stacy Cutler. With help of the testing and their work with the clinic, Cutler said Payton has moved up four reading levels this year. “She’s a totally different child. She’s my spunky Payton again,” Cutler said. Scottish Rite has given more than $1.1 million to ECU.

“The Scottish Rite’s involvement in assisting children with communication problems began in Denver, Colorado, over 60 years ago,” said William Brunk, CEO of Scottish Rite in North Carolina. “Our involvement with East Carolina gives us an opportunity to provide assistance in eastern North Carolina, an area with as much need as anywhere, but with only a certain amount of resources.”