Stowell Learning Center

Reading Like a Dyslexic Reader

I recently took a trip to Paris. I don’t speak French and I don’t read French, but when French is all there is to read and you want to know where you are, what’s on the menu, and what you’re looking at, you have to try to read French.

I am completely mystified by the spelling of many French sounds, but what I found was that while I could never have read anything out loud in French, if I knew the context, I could recognize enough words or word parts that looked like something I knew (English or Spanish) that I could kind of figure it out.

I realized that I was reading like a dyslexic reader.

Often students with dyslexia have very good comprehension, so while they can’t read accurately or fluently while reading aloud, they may be able to read silently by looking for words and word parts they understand and connect-the-dots through their own knowledge of the context and their strong deductive reasoning.

Several things about this experience made me empathize with our dyslexic students.

First, it is so tempting just to ignore print because it’s too hard to make sense of.

Second, it takes much more energy and attention to try to make sense of the written word than it does when reading comes naturally for you.

And third, if I could read silently and had enough time, I could often get the gist of what I was reading.

Dyslexic students are often misunderstood by parents and teachers and even themselves because they can get just enough to look like they read better than they really do. This makes their performance very inconsistent and their avoidance of reading related tasks look like laziness or lack of motivation.

We’ll explore the real issues underlying dyslexia in another post, but here’s the important thing to understand about dyslexia: It doesn’t have to be permanent. By addressing the underlying auditory and visual processing challenges that cause reading to be confusing, the roadblocks to learning to read and spell can be dramatically changed or completely eliminated.

The Dyslexia Challenge:

If you are interested in really understanding what it feels like to have a reading or spelling challenge, join us for our upcoming simulation.

Dyslexia Simulation – April 20, 2013 – Chino, CA

Go to for info and RSVP

Previous post:

Next post: