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Ben -
That was the main thought resonating through my head as I read this. Even though spun as a positive, the focus should always be on the person. :)

There's more to the story ...

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This article contains some useful information, but there’s more to the story.

For a dyslexic student to be successful at reading, writing and spelling, it isn’t enough for a teacher or parent to be encouraging, patient and inspirational. To be sure, self-esteem is an important strength for any child, and such support will help a struggling student. But what is vitally important is that the student receives an education that is geared to the way s/he learns. That means a research-based, multisensory, structured, sequential approach to language that is easy for teachers to deliver and helps all students to succeed, not only those with dyslexia.

You are correct in saying that dyslexia challenges people of average to superior intelligence, and that it is a neurological difference in the way brains function. Research based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that the brains of people with dyslexia operate differently from the norm and often in highly creative ways.

Students with dyslexia account for 15-20% of our classroom population, so it is imperative that teachers understand what it is and how to ensure that their teaching is effective. There is excellent information online at the International Dyslexia Association, (see “Just the Facts”) and Reading Rockets, (see “All Dyslexia Articles” and “Findings of the National Reading Panel”).

I speak from experience as a parent and spouse of dyslexic achievers; president of a foundation that provides professional development scholarships to K-3 teachers; and advocate for curriculum change at college and university schools of education. There is a lot of misleading information out there. Please make sure you know precisely how to teach to these students. It will help your entire class.

Great post and insights but

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Great post and insights but what about "people" or "person" with dyslexia instead of dyslexic?

My youngest daughter is

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My youngest daughter is dyslexic and had a special ed teacher as a mom. I realized she was probably dyslexic when she was going into 3rd grade (I had suspected it for a while,but was waiting to make sure that it was not just a creative way of looking a words and numbers). The psychologist did not want to label her afraid she would use it as an excuse. I insisted she be labeled and let the psychologist know that I never let my deaf students use their hearing loss as an excuse and would not let my daughter. When we explained it to her after the meeting, the first words out of her mouth were "I knew I was not stupid!" She is a creative and successful adult who never gives up!! She handled her 11th grade 504 meeting by herself, I came in later to sign it. The assistant principal was very impressed that she understood her skills and deficits and what supports she needed to be successful. For the state testing for high school she exceeded state standards in reading and was reading and acting Shakespeare in middle school.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist


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For some time I’ve noticed that when you give them the rest of the class off, most of them sit on the floor somewhere. I think when the pressure’s off, they like the go somewhere below the teacher’s eye level. That’s what I think. Sometimes they don’t want to go outside and play.

I’m grading tests at my desk in the back and I’ve got some music going. Just low enough to know there’s music playing somewhere. Some others are working on their new study guides or reading a book. A couple are finishing up essays ... due tomorrow.

It’s cloudy and drizzly outside. The moment has a nice feel but fifth period always does. They’ve had a demanding week, I admit. Covering one chapter in four days is a lot to ask. I do it every other week. And they’ve given a lot back. So they get to sit on the floor. That’s what they like to do sometimes.

But I heard a question. A very personal question. It stopped me. I looked over at a twosome in the back , Herman and Albert. It was a question I had never heard a kid ask another kid: Herman asked Albert what was it like to have dyslexia.

I turned the music all the way down and sort of hid behind my computer screen. They didn’t know I was listening and watching.

Albert said reading is almost impossible.

Herman asked him what he meant.

Then Albert shimmied over a little bit and pointed at a world map on the wall near them. He said do you see the word Russia here?


Well, to me the A is way over here and the R is way over there and it’s a big jumble. That’s what it’s like. That word does not look like Russia to me.

Reverently, respectfully, Herman said ... Wow.

Albert asked Herman, What do you have?

Herman said all he is … is nervous all the time.

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