Before we met Mr. Tzivanakis for the first time in summer 2008, I was sceptical: I had familiarized myself with the basics of the Ronald D. Davis method. It all sounded plausible and conclusive somehow: When I read it, a kind of "inner image" emerges. If pictures of individual words cannot be created, no inner picture of what is read emerges, the "sentence collapses", the reader stumbles.
My initial scepticism completely disappeared during our first meeting: Mr. Tzivanakis approached Felix very empathetically, playfully and unnoticed by Felix, he first managed to get an idea of Felix' reading difficulties. He then explained to us very precisely - in such a way that Felix understood him - at which points Felix' reading problems arise and through which exercises we can do something about it. Already the first exercises amazed me: Was that really my son reading? Concentrated and relaxed, he read whole sentences; when he came to a standstill, he literally managed to grasp the word that was difficult for him, to grasp the meaning of the word and to continue the sentence.
Mr. Tzivanakis is certainly not a magician, the method according to Davis is not magic. He knows a lot about language, speaking, reading, words, their meaning. He knows a lot of methodical and didactic things about reading. He is a kind of "reading pedagogue", he knows about the necessity of age-appropriate and individualized handling. In dealing with Felix, he had a very fine feeling for his current abilities. He knew exactly if and when Felix needed a break. I learned through Mr. Tzivanakis to recognize when Felix simply couldn't take it anymore and to distinguish these situations from those when he didn't want to anymore.
With an interval of two years now, I notice that when practicing together, it was somehow always about teaching Felix "the right technique", motivating him, having "the right posture" when reading, and meticulously taking care that excessive demands and external disturbances are avoided at all costs.
We would not have been able to follow the path successfully if Mr. Tzivanakis had not been our constant companion. The starting point of our journey was a meeting at his place for several days. There we got acquainted with each other and with the method, discussed the route and set off immediately. He was always there when we had questions, for readjustments, for comments or just for fun. He enjoyed listening to our "travel reports", was always curious and enthusiastic. We met regularly to discuss the next stage, to arrange the travel equipment and to add here and there. Certainly, there were also arduous routes, but many things were also very easy, exciting and entertaining. We never noticed how time passed, after two years now we have reached our destination.
I never dreamed that one day Felix would volunteer to read. I'm touched every time he gets absorbed in a book all by himself. He's certainly not a bookworm. However, before he has finished one book, he already asks which one he can read afterwards. It is one thing to observe that Felix has discovered that he enjoys reading. How important (perhaps even vital) it was to overcome his reading difficulties in the context of his education/job can only be guessed at.
I'm glad we ran into Mr. Tzivanakis. I'm happy that Felix has turned out this way. I'm proud that we did THIS!