Recognizing, educating, and advocating for dyslexic students

About Dyslexia

Dyslexia is:
  • A language-based learning problem
  • A life-long challenge
  • Present across all socioeconomic levels
  • Diagnosable before a child begins to read
  • Best addressed through early intervention

Dyslexia is not:
  • Seeing things backwards
  • Reversing letters and numbers
  • A visual problem
  • A sign of low intelligence or slow development
  • Caused by a lack of motivation
  • More likely to affect boys than girls
  • Fixed (or even addressed) by repeating a grade
  • Self-correcting with time
  • Responsive to standard reading instruction

Basic Patterns of dyslexia (different / higher-level way of getting to the “strengths and challenges” point):
  • Oral Expression – average or above
  • Listening Comprehension – average or above
  • Basic Reading Skills
  • Phonemic awareness – low/primary indicator
  • Phonics, word structure and word recognition – low/primary indicator
    • Reading Fluency – low/primary indicator
    • Reading Comprehension – may be low due to secondary effects of reading basic skills and fluency
  • Written Expression –
    • Average or above in concepts
    • Low in spelling & syntax, primary indicators
  • Mathematics Calculation – may be low
  • Mathematics Problem Solving – usually average or above

Our viewpoint...

IMAGINE if leaving STRUGGLING READERS behind in our classrooms means leaving our future VISIONARIES and INNOVATORS behind!

  • Dyslexia is a persistent (never outgrown), often misunderstood neurological learning challenge affecting 1 in 5 individuals.
  • R.E.A.D.S. premise is that if we recognize the dyslexic students in our community early on (the greatest clues are in pre-k and kindergarten) and we provide these students with appropriate Orton-Gillingham based instruction right away, then we are preserving the potential of our future innovators.
  • Why?  Dyslexia isn’t just a barrier to learning; the brain actually processes and stores information differently, predisposing individuals to important abilities as well as the well-known challenges.  It is a tradeoff, a paradox for sure!  But when the world’s entrepreneurs are 5 times more likely to be dyslexic, we should take note!
  • "Dyslexia is not a disease to have and to be cured of, but a way of thinking and learning.  Often it's a gifted mind waiting to be found and taught." --Gerard Sagmiller, Dyslexia My Life (Link to Dyslexia fact page)

Did you know that...
  • Of the 1 in 5 people who have dyslexia, half of these cases are severe enough that the individual will not read at grade level without deliberate intervention?
  • Only two teaching methods have been shown to be effective at teaching dyslexics to read and that neither of these are used prevalently in our schools?
  • Indiana is one of a small shrinking number of states that does not recognize dyslexia as a disability?
  • “Even in high school students, phonemic awareness was the best predictor of the ability to read words accurately and quickly.” (Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, M.D.) This early clue can be observed in preschool and kindergarten!?
  • Many of the challenges dyslexics experience result from a difference in how the brain is wired for LANGUAGE; it is not a vision issue?

Individuals with dyslexia, have these patterns of strengths...
  • Material reasoning involving three-dimensional spatial reasoning, and mechanical ability;
  • Interconnected reasoning where dyslexics see things others miss, spot connections between various forms of information, and what they see or hear always reminds them of something else;
  • Narrative strengths where dyslexics use “scene-based”, episodic memory recalling their personal experiences vividly, illustrations become their way of remembering information and they produce this imagery through film, illustrations, art, creative writing, and story telling; and
  • Dynamic reasoning strengths where spotting unusual connections in data is the norm. These individuals make predictions, use their intuition, have excellent oral communication, and engage the help of others.

Individuals with dyslexia exhibit some of these known challenges...
  • Phonemic awareness (rhyming, alliteration, blending, substitutions);
  • Pulling out the right word, math fact, spelling or producing names under pressure;
  • Reading;
  • Spelling;
  • Rote memorization of facts;
  • Rapid word retrieval;
  • Handwriting and written expression;
  • Vocabulary (may understand the function but has difficulty recalling the word);
  • Misnaming objects (a result of confusing the sounds in language, not a lack of knowledge, ex. recalling volcano instead of tornado);
  • Working memory (ability to keep information in the mind); and
  • Sequencing and telling time.