If you have serious reading issues, have someone read this to you. Let’s continue.
As a word of encouragement, while you may have difficulty reading my long response, let me tell you that there has not been one student in my 50 years as an educator, author, and literacy expert who told me that they were dyslexic that I didn’t teach how to read with success.
First of all, you must determine what type of dyslexia you may have. The common “diagnosis” of dyslexia means that someone has difficulty reading as he or she exhibits certain reading behaviors.
Such a broad definition of dyslexia as noted above allows the diagnosis to apply broadly to hundreds of thousands of readers. Many are far from being learning disabled; they simply have been taught to read using inadequate and inefficient methods that result in reading behaviors that mimic neurological dyslexia. These folks may be instructionally disabled. Most educators and experts are unaware of the history of reading. They are unaware of why and how these dyslexia symptoms came to be so common.
The popular rise of the diagnosis of dyslexia seems to have occurred simultaneously with the abandonment of phonics instruction that required that the reader to read from left to right, pronouncing each letter from beginning to end with accuracy.
Dyslexia is not always a learning disability, but often can be instructionally induced, namely, a learned disability, correctable and reversible with systematic, direct, and explicit phonics and reading instruction.
If someone is going to diagnose an individual as being dyslexic, they must not assume that the reader has been taught to read using effective strategies.
Let’s consider some of the reading strategies that are taught in many classrooms that experts or individuals use as baselines to diagnose dyslexia.
For example, Dr. Ken Goodman, of Arizona University, wrote in The Whole-Language Catalog (p.207): Whole language classrooms liberate pupils to try new things, to invent spellings, to experiment with a new genre, to guess at meanings in their reading, or to read and write imperfectly. [Underline added.] Our research on reading and writing has strongly supported the importance of error in language development. Miscues represent the tension between invention and convention in reading. . . . In whole-language classrooms risk-taking is not simply tolerated, it is celebrated. Learners have always been free to fail.
If you are SUBSTITUTING words in a passage, MAKING GUESSES if a word seems unfamiliar to too difficult, SKIPPING WORDS OR SENTENCES and then go back, RESTART, you may be using strategies that you were taught to use. If you are able only to GET THE GIST, this is a logical outcome of ineffective instruction. If you are a POOR SPELLERS, you may not have a background in explicit, systematic that would enable you not only to read (decode) well, but they can spell (encode) well.
The bottom line is that, if you are exhibiting dyslexic symptoms, do the following:
1. Try to determine how you learned how to read, write, and spell. Folks who were taught explicit, systematic phonics know exactly how they were taught to read. Other folks generally are a bit fuzzy.
2. If you did not have explicit, systematic, direct instruction of phonics concepts, then by all means, find a way to learn it. You may be pleasantly surprised.
This post offers limited connection with you, the reader, so I do not know your specific situation and reading behaviors. I do want to affirm that I through the many decades that I have been teaching as a classroom teacher, school librarian, college course author and college online and in person instructor, I have met many who told me they were dyslexic.
However, I have not met a single individual who has not has his or her dyslexic symptoms significantly lessened or eliminated completely when they learned explicit, systematic phonics strategies and concepts. It is not rocket science, thankfully.
In the interest of helping you, let me share that I developed a system for older struggling readers, including those with dyslexia. Pat Doran’s PHONICS STEPS TO READING SUCCESS: A Fast-paced, Word-attack System for Developing and Improving Reading Skills is an effective program, easy to learn. I also wrote, THE SECRET CLUB: Why and How We Must Teach Phonics and Essential Literacy Skills to Readers of All Ages.
I wish you the best in your future.