Peter works so hard at reading, but it just never gets easier. He knows he's smart so why can't he read like the other kids? Peter has a problem called dyslexia.
Dyslexia (say: dis-lek-see-uh) is a learning problem some kids have. Dyslexia makes it tough to read and spell. The problem is inside the brain, but it doesn't mean the person is dumb. Plenty of smart and talented people struggle with dyslexia. A great example is Tom Cruise.
But dyslexia doesn't have to keep a kid down. With some help and a lot of hard work, a kid who has dyslexia can learn to read and spell.
How Does Reading Happen?
To understand dyslexia, it helps to understand reading. Reading is a real workout for your brain. You need to do the following steps — and all at once:
1. Understand the way speech sounds make up words. 2. Focus on printed marks (letters and words). 3. Connect speech sounds to letters. 4. Blend letter sounds smoothly into words. 5. Control eye movements across the page. 6. Build images and ideas. 7. Compare new ideas with what is already known. 8. Store the ideas in memory.
Phew! Kids who have dyslexia struggle with the beginning steps, so that makes doing the rest of the steps even harder. It's no surprise, then, that trying to read and dealing with dyslexia makes a kid's brain really tired really fast.