Dyslexia: how I hate the term

The trouble with dyslexia

by Malkin Dare

April 18, 2015 by mdare at 08:30 AM

This article by a teacher about her “dyslexic” daughter got me going. How much do I hate the term “dyslexia”? Let me count the ways.

Children’s ease of learning to read falls along a continuum. A few kids find it so easy that they practically pick it up if someone whispers the word “phonics” in the next room. The vast majority of kids readily learn to read with so-so instruction. And there is a smallish group of kids who find reading really hard and need to be taught very carefully.

The further along the continuum a child falls, the more carefully he or she needs to be taught. If only this were widely understood! Instead, most education systems find it easier to label the hard-to-teach kids “dyslexic” and thus avoid the heavy lifting necessary to overcome their difficulties. Particularly pernicious is the practice of focusing on the child’s strengths, in this case math and science.

Here’s what Siegried Engelmann, who has taught thousands of students to read directly or indirectly (as a trainer), has to say. “And we’ve shown for the past thirty-four years, that if kids are taught properly in kindergarten, you won’t have non-readers. There are NO non-readers. I’ve never seen a kid with an IQ in the range of 80 or above that couldn’t be taught to read in a timely fashion. And I’ve taken on various comers that said, ‘Oh, this kid has no visual perception’ and so on. They can all be taught to read if you start at the right level and you provide a sequence that is going to teach them systematically.” Thirty years ago, Mr. Engelmann offered a thousand dollars to anyone who could produce an exception to his boast, but he still has his money.

The trouble with the term “dyslexia” is that it implies a life-long condition, a handicap that must be accommodated and worked around, but the truth is that all children who are taught to read properly, no matter how difficult the process, end up in exactly the same place as children who were easy to teach – and the same high standards and bright future should be held out to them.

For more detail, click here. H/T TB


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *