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Growing up with Time Timer

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on


When I was in fourth grade, I noticed a difference between myself and my classmates. As they all started reading large chapter books, I was still struggling to read the beginner chapter books. My mom was an educator and noticed this difference as well, this is when we discovered that I was dyslexic.  


For those who do not know what dyslexia is, it is a learning disorder that affects your ability to read and write. People with dyslexia often struggle with mixing up words while reading and reading at a much slower pace than their peers. Trouble writing and spelling are also signs of dyslexia.  


As a fourth grader, I was discouraged and frustrated. I did not understand why I was reading so much slower than my friends and why I could not read and retain the books that they were. This is when I started Orton Gillingham tutoring. Orton Gillingham is a multisensory and structured approach to teach literacy when reading and writing, especially for people with dyslexia. 


My first tutoring session was my first encounter with Time Timer. I got to the library and I was nervous about this new thing I had to do every week for 50 minutes. I met my tutor and we sat down at a table in the library. She pulls out of her bag a little timer. It was a Time Timer. It was the original 3" Time Timer.   


The Time Timer was always a constant at our tutoring sessions. Every week I would sit down, and she would set the Time Timer to 50 minutes and we would begin the lesson. This gave me something to reference as we went through our lesson plan. Many times, she would say we are going to spend the last 10 minutes of the lesson reading. So, when almost all the red was gone from the timer and there were only 10 minutes left, I would know that it is time to stop the formal lesson and grab my book to read.  


Time Timer gave structure to our lesson. In a time of uncertainty as a fourth grader, knowing that it was only 50 minutes a week kept me going. Some lessons, I will admit, I was counting down the minutes until I could go home because I was a fourth grader and did not feel like reading more than I had to. The Time Timer gave me the ability to visually check in with time. It gave me the ability to keep pushing because I just had to keep going until the red disappeared.  


I continued in tutoring for the next four years. I had a total of three different tutors over those four years and each one of them had a Time Timer to pull out at the beginning of their lesson plan.  


As I entered middle school, I noticed something familiar in my new classroom. There was a Time Timer on the wall. This was a much bigger version of that little timer my tutors used that I could see from across the classroom. At the beginning of our math period, my teacher would set the Time Timer so we could all see where we were in the class period and keep ourselves on track. In middle school is when I received my first Time Timer Watch PLUS. I would use my Time Timer Watch to set pace for myself when working on homework or individual assignments at school. This was a great tool for me to gain independence when managing my time. 


Flash forward to today, I am in my final year of college and I have the Time Timer app on my phone. When I have a certain amount of time to complete an assignment for school, I open up my Time Timer app as a reference to keep myself on track.  


Time Timer has been a constant in my education and is something that has taught me accountability with my time at a young age!  




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