On Sunday I went to see The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia and if you have anything to do with education, parenting or people then you too need to see this documentary. Statistics show that in the US 20% of all students are dyslexic in some way, so the question is that if 5 of my 25 students have a dyslexic wired brain what am I doing to cater for their needs.
Now the idea of catering for the dyslexic is not new to me and I have realized in my adulthood that I am on the mild end of the dyslexic spectrum. I learned to cope and make tricks to remember un-phonetic spelling through the help of internal imagery and making up silly ways to say words, but do we allow time for this in class or just require kids to learn then regurgitate their spelling words. Do our students read at their decoding level, not their comprehension level?.
Niel Mackay’s workshop in 2011 was the real eye opener for me. It simply raised the idea that employing teaching strategies that cater for dyslexic students in all areas of your teaching will not hinder the non dyslexic, but will benefit the dyslexic and often could be that game changing lesson. Making sure that there is lots of visual data used in your classroom, not just words. Allow for a variety of ways to show understanding and mastery of a task, not just the written text model. If you are assessing knowledge then is time really a factor?
I know that I still have a lot to learn and from watching the film I have a better understanding of what a dyslexic person goes through every day in school and I am now on a mission to try and improve this experience for them. I implore you to hunt down this film, watch it, share it with our family and staff – it really is that good and really is that important.