Ever wonder what your child is like while he/she is at school? Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall, so you could observe them in their unguarded moments? See if they’re smiling . . . or not? Find out what makes them smile, and what causes them to doubt themselves?
I’m lucky because I get to observe children in these situations every day. I watch them at play with their friends, or when they are engaged in a lesson in the classroom, or when they’re unsure of an answer and ask their teachers for help.
I have to acknowledge that the children in my school are very lucky. You see, they’re all dyslexic, and they are being taught to learn in the ways most effective for them. Our teachers know that no two students are alike, and that individualizing the curriculum is what we’re all about.
Pretty wonderful, huh? But what about all those countless dyslexic students who are not receiving appropriate instruction? Dyslexic children must be directly taught to decode words, break them down, and then blend them back together so they can be read. These students must be directly taught comprehension and writing skills, and they need opportunities to improve fluency. As many as one in five children in school today is dyslexic, yet very few of these students have access to direct phonics instruction. Traditional learners practically teach themselves how to read. They have strong visual memory for words and a solid grasp of the sound/symbol relationship. They are able to retain and quickly retrieve information from their memory files.
So how do we help struggling readers? How do we make sure they receive the resources they need to become successful learners? We can work with state legislatures to make sure lawmakers are aware of the needs of dyslexic students. We need to educate elected officials about what it means to be dyslexic . . . the strengths and weaknesses of dyslexic children’s cognitive profiles. We need to work with colleges of education to be sure that tomorrow’s teachers are prepared to teach EVERY child in their classrooms to read.
We owe it to ourselves to ensure that children are equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Our futures depend upon it. Dyslexics are creative problem-solvers with grit and determination. They are builders, tinkerers, mathematicians, artists, scientists, and inventors. Without enabling each child to reach his or her potential, there are untold costs to humanity. A dyslexic could find the cure for cancer, design an economical water system for developing countries, create art so profound that it feeds the human soul. We owe it to these children, and to ourselves, to help them unlock their innate gifts. Find a way to get involved, and help pave the way for these unique thinkers.
- happy children