October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. While for many of you reading this letter, Dyslexia is something we think about daily, this month provides us with an incredible opportunity to shed light on this often misunderstood learning difference and to celebrate the incredible resilience and potential of dyslexic individuals.
We begin this month with the story written by Nicole, a current college Junior who was diagnosed with dyslexia during her freshman year of college:
I would sit in class, unable to read the words on the page. I had a lot memorized and worked hard at trying to memorize all that I could, but I depended a lot on my peers, teacher explanations, and my reasoning skills to get by. I could make connections through their talking, so it always seemed like I understood. The truth is, from 6th grade until my freshman year of college, I didn’t read anything. If I couldn’t find a way to listen to a book, I didn’t bother with it.
At some point in high school, I remember having to act out a play. I cut class that entire week to avoid having to read my part in front of the class. At that point, I didn’t know how to explain to my parents or teachers that I really couldn’t read. Instead, I suffered the consequences of cutting class.
When I was a senior in high school, I was shocked I had made it this far and was just looking forward to being free. I was 17, I still struggled to read. My self-worth was non-existent, and I just felt dumb. Why was I unable to do something that everyone else around me could do?
I never once considered that college was for me. But the summer after graduation, I felt like I had to do something. I found a local community college with an adult literacy program and enrolled. The teacher there was amazing, and for the first time in my life, she asked if I had ever been tested for dyslexia. It is cliche, but in that instant, my life changed. She walked me through the process of getting tested and cried with me when I got my diagnosis.
I cried because it felt like a weight had been lifted, and everything I had been through finally made sense. I also cried because I wasted so much time hiding and going unnoticed by those who should have helped me.
I enrolled in college the following year. I’m going to be a teacher. I am learning so much about how to teach reading in ways that were not available to me as a child. My goal is to make sure that no student makes it out of my classroom without being able to read or without the support to help them.
We all owe this to every single child.
Nicole’s story is not uncommon, but it is one that needs to be heard over and over again. Over the next 30 days, we’ll share stories, resources, and insights that will empower educators, parents, and communities to better support dyslexic students on their educational journeys.
If you have a story you’d like to share with our community, please reach out to Tamara at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Volunteer with Everyone Reading!
If you are interested in volunteering with Everyone Reading, please fill out the attached form: Tutor Interest Form
Professional Development Opportunities
Wilson and Everyone Reading are offering a series of virtual workshops on:
Wilson Reading System, Fundations, and Just Words.
More information and registration links can be found at this link:
Structured Literacy: The Science of Reading for All Readers (1.5 CTLE Hours)
Date/Time: Tuesday, October 10th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
In this 90-minute session, participants will learn students’ skills to become skilled readers, including practical ways to implement these evidence-based methods in the classroom.
This session is ideal for teachers of K-2 students and any teacher with struggling readers in their classroom. Parents can also benefit by learning literacy-based terminology and strategies for support at home.
Register here: Structured Literacy: The Science of Reading for All Readers
Prescriptive Instruction: Using Assessments Strategically (1.5 CTLE Hours)
Date/Time: Tuesday, October 24th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
If a child struggles with phonics, is the issue really phonics – or do we need to look back at their phonemic awareness skills? If a student can’t comprehend, is it truly a comprehension issue, or do they struggle with word recognition or vocabulary? This 90-minute session looks deeply at how to use assessment to get to the root cause of our readers’ struggles to be able to provide them with targeted instruction that helps them soar. We’ll also talk about effective small grouping and how to support our secondary students.
This session is ideal for parents, teachers, administrators, tutors, and anyone who wants to give students the most effective support in their literacy acquisition.
Register here: Prescriptive Instruction: Using Assessments Strategically
What about Writing? (1.5 CTLE Hours)
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 14th, 6:30 -8:00 p.m.
Do your children struggle to transfer their reading skills into their writing? Do you struggle to fit writing lessons into an already-packed literacy block as a teacher? Parents, do you struggle to get your child to sit down and start an essay or writing piece? In this 90-minute session, we’ll explore the three main skills required for students to be effective writers and how to develop these skills in an already full day (both in school and at home!)
Register here: What about Writing?