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Will Morton, 8, of Verona, reads to his mother, Chris, in their home in Verona.

Reading tutor Pam Heyde of Verona has won an "Unsung Hero" award from the International Dyslexia Association for her work helping children to read.

The local reading instructor works outside of school with children who are struggling to learn to read. She was nominated for the national award by Chris Morton, a parent whose son, Will, is one of Heyde's success stories.

I interviewed the Morton family last year as part of an article about an effort to pass legislation requiring schools to identify struggling readers earlier in their school careers and to require teachers to learn more about the different ways children learn to read.

According to Heyde, Will's experience as a frustrated young student who almost gave up on school because he couldn't read, is not uncommon.

A strong  advocate for identifying children who don't learn to read in conventional ways as early as possible, Heyde lobbies at the state level for the Wisconsin chapter of the Dyslexia Association.  

In Morton's letter nominating Heyde for the "Unsung Hero" award she writes, "I am forever grateful to Pam Heyde and all of the other tutors and educators who understand that all children do not learn to read the same way." 

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She also writes, thanks to Heyde, "My son's self-esteem grew exponentially, and he now knows that he isn't stupid and that he can do whatever he sets his mind to."