Thursday, December 6, 2007


On Tuesday at our staff meeting, we had a teacher from Quentin Road Dyslexia Solutions come talk to our department about dyslexia. I think dyslexia is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but not everyone has a clear idea of what it actually means. Here's the definition from the literature she gave us:

"Dyslexia is an inherited condition that makes it extremely difficult to read, write, and spell in your native language - despite at least average intelligence. Dyslexia is a language processing disorder that also impacts directionality and the ability to memorize random facts."

Here are some facts from one of her handouts:

  • Dyslexia affects at least 1 out of every five children in the United States.
  • It affects as many boys as girls.
  • A child can be accurately tested for dyslexia as early as age five and a half.
And here is an excerpt from one of the most interesting things she gave us. It's a passage that is written the way a person with dyslexia might see it. I'll give you the first paragraph and then the "translation".

These Studies Wake a Difference

The toaster wanted his fonth-grid studies smuggle with the dread, cast-of Christian threes. They where playing the threes, on by on, in a long row. Passing-by must have mandered my the studies where "playing" bed threes on the toy's bench. If anything asked, the studies mold explore that they wanted the project and redild the sad blues.

And now the way a neurotypical person would read it:

These Students Made a Difference

The teacher watched his fourth-grade students struggle with the dried, cast-off Christmas trees. They were placing the trees, one-by-one, in a long row. Passers-by must have wondered why the students were "planting" dead trees on their town's beach. If anyone asked, the students would explain that they wanted to protect and rebuild the sand dunes.

It was certainly eye-opening for all of us to experience reading the way a person with dyslexia might. I hope it was eye-opening for you, too.

For further reading about dyslexia, the following books were recommended by our speaker:

Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz
Reading David by Lissa Weinstein
Straight Talk About Reading by Susan Hall & Louisa Moats