Teen improves reading through old-school letter writing

A St. John teen with autism is improving his reading skills through the old-fashioned art of letter writing. 

ST. JOHN, Maine — A St. John teen with autism is improving his reading skills through the old-fashioned art of letter writing. 

Adam Jandreau, 18, struggles with reading, but is fast on his way to becoming a wordsmith thanks to some recently acquired penpals.

The accidental learning project began during the Christmas season of 2019, according to Jandreau’s mother, Lisa Morine. She enlisted her son to help write salutations in holiday cards, when she became busy. 

Adam took to the task with enthusiasm, and began blossoming in his reading and writing abilities. 

Morine noticed the positive impact the writing had on her son’s education. 

What began with Christmas cards became a family endeavor each holiday since.

“I saw he enjoyed this and it helped him learn to read,” Morine said. “And then I said, ‘I’m gonna make you the family card guy — somebody has to do this.’”

“It’s just like the process is opening up a whole different roadway,” Morine added. “If that’s what works, that’s what works.” 

“I’m getting very good with it; it’s helping me,” Jandreau said. 

A penpal sent Adam Jandreau a colorful pet rock in the mail. (Courtesy of Lisa Morine)

Jandreau began gardening at just 10 years old and is proprietor of Adam’s Lunchbox and Greenhouse in the family’s backyard.

Unfortunately, the business, which sells fresh vegetables, chicken eggs, plants and crafts, is on hiatus until spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I wish I could be open right now but I guess it’s not safe,” Jandreau said. 

The letter writing also provides Jandreau with a connection to others he misses from not being able to interact with customers.

“I do go check the mailbox,” Jandreau said. “It’s nice to see people are mailing out letters. I’m happy to receive all the letters I’ve gotten so far.” 

One mailer even sent Adam Jandreau a friendly looking, colorfully painted pet rock.

The young man welcomes all correspondence, and returns cheerful messages to all who take the time to write to him. 

“I’m just trying to spread a lot of positivity out there,” Jandreau said. “I feel like there’s enough negativity in this world; we don’t need more of it.” 

When not brushing up on his reading skills or operating his home business, Adam Jandreau enjoys playing his electronic keyboard and pushing snow with his tractor. 

He also spends time with his Labrador Chloe, and cats Ducky and Milo. 

Adam Jandreau’s parents are Lisa Morine and Jeff Jandreau. 

Anyone who wants to write to Adam Jandreau to help him improve his reading abilities can send cards or letters or even pet rocks to:

Adam Jandreau

1859 St. John Rd. 

St. John Plt., ME 04743  

“He will write a card back,” Morine said. “Thank you to all who are helping.”

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