READING LESSONS

Tyler Currie's "Reaching Rommel" [February 23] brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes. Joy because a little boy who could have been lost has been given an opportunity to thrive. Sadness because there are so many more Rommels who are indeed lost.

Sharon Scott Williams

Fort Washington

Tyler Currie's dedication to devote nine hours a week, unpaid, to teaching a single student to read is heroic. But lest anyone -- particularly early elementary teachers and school boards -- miss a key message of Currie's story: Phonics works.

Linda M. Magno

Silver Spring

Mr. Currie described a student who had not only a learning disability that made reading very difficult but also a gift for comprehending information at a high level. Students who are simultaneously gifted and learning disabled make up 2 to 5 percent of the population but often go undiagnosed because their gifts and disabilities may mask each other.

Rich Weinfeld

Montgomery County Public Schools

Rockville

"Reaching Rommel" was an incredibly inspiring but ultimately heartbreaking story. We can all celebrate that such a great kid and his anxious mom got the help they needed to unlock Rommel's talent and desire to learn. But what about the "skeletal-looking fifth-grader" at Mildred Green Elementary School who kept pleading for a chance to overcome his own illiteracy? Is that child

getting passed from grade to grade, as Rommel was before the intervention of a single-minded teacher?

Megan Gallagher

The Plains