Kim's Story

The Cloud Chaser reveals a common-sense approach to teaching learning disabled students. Designed for parents and teachers alike, this book will give the reader special insight into the
world of learning disabilities. Author Peter Riffle believes that a critical aspect to being a
successful teacher is demonstrating to the children that they are not just kids sitting in the
classroom, but are important to the teacher as individuals.

The Cloud Chaser is filled with anecdotes, educational philosophy, and creative and
practical lessons to use with these children. Learning disabled students will frequently enter
a classroom with low self-esteem and a negative attitude. It is the teacher's goal to make them
believe in themselves. Once this happens, a positive transformation takes place. Kim's story,
which is found in Chapter Three, is one example of the various techniques the author uses to
inspire young people to rise to the occasion.


This memorable teaching incident confirmed for me the undeniable link between self-confidence
and learning. In the late seventies I had a tall young woman named Kim in my tenth-grade English
class. Every Friday I would give a twenty-question, matching vocabulary test. Kim didn't have a
single word correct on the first two tests, and I wanted to know why. She told me she was too dumb
to take those tests. After I told her she was never to call herself dumb again, she promised to
study for the following week's test.

That Friday I asked her if she had studied for the vocabulary test. She nodded but not too
convincingly replied, "A little." I arranged it so that she took her matching test with
a pencil. When I corrected her test, she had a zero again. I erased her answers, wrote in the correct
answers, and put a 100% on top of her paper. She almost fell over when she saw her score. Her grades
improved week after week until she actually earned a 100% on her own. By the time she graduated, Kim was one of my top vocabulary students.

Over the years Kim has stayed in contact with me. One day I decided to divulge the truth about her
first few vocabulary tests. When I told her, she started to cry, hugged me, and said, "I always
did love you." I explained to her that I had simply instilled confidence in her ability to learn.
She is now in her forties and has assured me that the confidence I gave her has helped her immensely
in her adult life.