COLUMBUS — Jordan Loseke’s name appears on a plaque inside Lakeview High School noting his perfect score on a state reading assessment.
The accomplishment is even more impressive for a student who didn't read a book on his own until age 10.
Loseke, a senior at Lakeview, has dyslexia, a learning disability he was diagnosed with in kindergarten.
“I noticed that he wasn’t right where he should be, but his preschool teacher assured me he was and that he would learn to read in school,” his mother Jodi Loseke said.
But it was obvious things weren't right.
“There were red flags that he wasn’t doing well. His teacher said he wasn’t getting it,” Jodi said.
Jodi dedicated time at home to teach her son letters using flashcards, but it wasn't working.
“He was so discouraged. It broke my heart,” she said.
Jodi decided to have her son tested for dyslexia, a disorder that often impacts reading comprehension, writing and spelling. With a diagnosis in place, Jordan repeated kindergarten and also got assistance through the special education program while in elementary school in Platte Center.
Every day after school, Jodi read out loud to Jordan. It was a routine they kept for years until one day, when Jordan was 10, she handed him a book and told him to try reading it on his own.
Jordan wasn’t exactly on board. He hated reading, but because the book was part of a series they were reading, he was eager to find out what would happen next. He tried reading it and, as his mom said, took off like crazy.
“He read all summer long,” Jodi said.
During his junior year at Lakeview, Jordan took the Nebraska State Assessment (NeSA) tests that quiz students on reading, writing, math and science and came away with a perfect score on the reading portion.
“I was surprised. I’m usually good with taking tests. I’m good with remembering and sometimes I hardly need to study,” Jordan, 18, said.
Jodi, who is a paraeducator at the school, said her son really started to be successful in school entering fifth grade, the school year after he first read on his own. She credits his ambitious spirit and determination for not letting dyslexia hold him back.
She said all of her children with husband Kendal, including sons Christian and Jackson, are good students, but Jordan has been blessed with a little extra.
“I think he had to be more intelligent because he had to work harder and retrain his brain,” she said.
There was a lot of frustration when he was younger. Jordan couldn’t see words and letters the same way his classmates were able to.
He uses the term “chicken scratch” as the best way to describe what he saw.
“It was like a foreign language to me and I speak it,” he said.
When he wrote, the letters were mixed up or written backward, a problem he can still encounter today. His mind also couldn’t process cursive handwriting.
Jordan prints in admittedly messy handwriting, a trait sometimes associated with dyslexia, and only uses cursive to sign his name. His mom jokes that it is fitting his scrawl is less than perfect because Jordan is planning on becoming a doctor. He has his sights set on attending Wayne State College before going to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.
Despite the difficulties along the way, Jordan said he learned important lessons, including developing a good work ethic and realizing that everyone is different, and that’s OK.
He said other students who might be struggling in school or have their own learning disabilities should keep a piece of advice in mind.
“Stick with it and accept help. I can’t stress that enough. There are just some things you don’t know how to do. You can’t learn how to do it if you don’t ask how to do it. I’m probably the first person in class to raise my hand if I don’t understand it,” he said.