[stextbox id=”guest2″ image=”null”]As you know, we are using Fridays here at Oh, the Books! to help promote newer bloggers (though other guest posts might make their way in if we have openings). If you have started your blog in the last six months and are interested in contributing, we want to hear from you!
We excited to introduce Charlotte @ Escapades of a Bookworm to the blog today! Charlotte’s blog features reviews, quotes, and various other fun features such as Pastime Pleasures where she shares oldies but goodies. After reading her guest post below make sure to say hi to her on Twitter and check out her blog.
– Kelley, Asti, & Leanne[/stextbox]
Reading and Dyslexia
Hiya! Thanks Oh, the Books! for having me on your blog today. When I said that I would write this post I had no clue how I was going to go about it. I decided to write this post, something, anything about dyslexia because at University one of my classmates told me: “Oh yes, I would get better marks in my exams if I had extra time. It is not fair that you get more time to write, you can put more stuff down!” Just no. This was from someone who is a postgraduate in their mid-twenties studying law. But it did get me thinking about why someone would make a comment like that? What is it that they don’t understand about dyslexia?
Somehow along the way, this post has become longer and longer, so please forgive me for the length. Perhaps I should offer a prize for getting to the end…
Books Featuring Dyslexia
Have you ever read a book with a dyslexic protagonist? Have you noticed the same theme that runs through them? The answer is simple, they are all very bright but they can’t read and on occasion write. The majority are also embarrassed and try to hide their disability.
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan was (and still is) one of my favourite books as a kid. In ancient Greece, mythology was used to explain the unexplainable, it is an analogy, so it is fitting that dyslexia is put in that category. It’s also pretty cool that the reason why Percy can’t read English is because his brain is hardwired for ancient Greek and he is a demi- god. This explained so much to me. But I’m still waiting to go to Camp Half Blood…
Other favourites include:
“May is helping out on a neighbour’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned.
Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbours, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again.” – May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
“The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem.
Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.” – Counting to D by Kate Scott
Further books with dyslexic protagonists include: Eleven by Patricia Reilly Griff, The Hank Zipzer Series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, My name is Brain Brian by Jeanne Betancourt and so many more.
Not every dyslexic has extreme problems when it comes to reading, it’s just the other issues that get in the way. I should know because I’m dyslexic. But I’ve never really known a time when I couldn’t read. The first book I read was the Famous Five by Enid Blyton and then two years later I managed to read Lord of the Rings and Jane Eyre without too much difficulty. The big words got in the way. I completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Classical Studies and am just about to complete my Masters in Law. Yet when I tell people this and they realise that I am dyslexic, they ask: “are you sure?”
As with any other type of disability, the symptoms or “effects” of being dyslexic vary from person to person. Some people don’t get diagnosed until their late teens; one person I know wasn’t diagnosed until their second year of University. This is because not everyone has “obvious” dyslexia. Coping mechanism, mild dyslexia and non-normal symptoms of dyslexia makes it a difficult learning disability to diagnose. It is the breath that defines dyslexia.
Perhaps I am generalising too much. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill, but when it’s comes to dyslexia there are so many aspects that it cannot be defined simply.
So what is dyslexia?
You probably already know the answer; it’s most likely that you know someone who is dyslexic, but here are ten elements of dyslexia that you may not know:
- Difficultly in distinguishing left from right. If giving directions when in a car always say “my side” or “your side” it avoids a lot of hassle.
- Poor co-ordination or unusual clumsiness. Yep I’m so meant to sit like that. Honest…
- Poor concentration skills. Oh look a really cute duck… I wonder where I can get one? Damn, where was I?
- Illogical sequencing of ideas or lists. For example, remembering vowels I could never say AEIOU, it had to be EUIAO
- Difficulty in remembering telephone numbers. I know three and a half. My home phone because we have never moved. My mobile because I’ve never changed it – but I only learnt this in the last two years. The emergency number because duh. And the half is my grandparents’ number because that is how they answer their telephone. I am determined to learn the other half. One day.
- ‘Bright’ and ‘understanding’ of a certain topic but there is a ‘mental block’ with regards to reading or writing about said topic. Sigh… Bet this never happens to Hermione Granger.
- Difficulty in distinguishing important information from unimportant information. Everything is relevant!!!
- Difficulties when it comes to speaking – mispronunciation of words, lisps, poor rhyming, not noticing differences in words e.g. specific and pacific
- Difficulty revising for exams. Stuff never seems to stick in my head. I’ve always wondered where my lost knowledge goes. It must go somewhere right?
- Thinks primarily with images and feelings, there is little internal dialogue (VERBAL THINKERS vs NON-VERBAL THINKERS)
What Makes It Easier
Yet these limitations caused by dyslexia have become easier due to advancements in technology. There’s spellchecker for all your computer documents and email – although having constantly spelt first and birthday wrong for too long, my computer now accepts them as the correct spelling. If anyone knows how to change the settings or how I can remove frist and brithday off my computer I will be eternally grateful to them.
Some of the little beauties that I use all the time are:
- There’s computer programmes that allow you to dictate what you want to say to your computer and it will do all the typing for you.
- There are also e-readers which allow you to change the font and size of the page you’re reading; you can also dim the brightness of the page because it is the white behind the text that can be distorting (especially for me).
- You can use Dictaphones to record lectures, meetings, etc. and there are audiobooks and so many other wondrous inventions that mean, being dyslexia isn’t so bad.
Dyslexia is no longer the pain it once was. I have noticed that things are now slightly easier. Whether that is because I am now slightly grown up and can understand or because of technology; I don’t know. What I do know is that I won’t let people shame me for having dyslexia. It’s just something that I cannot control.