Here is how a parent can explain dyslexia to a child:
“I know that reading and spelling can be hard for you, and I have discovered the reason. First, let me tell you someone else we know who struggles with the same thing, and you might not even know it.”
(Give the name of the closest person in your family tree who has dyslexia, and talk about how he or she has had “difficulty with language.” The person might be you!)
“There is a special name for having ‘difficulty with language.’ It is called dyslexia. Dyslexia is in our family tree, and it is the reason reading and spelling are so hard. But I have good news! All you need is a new way of learning to read and spell that will help make it so much easier. So we have made plans for you to begin tutoring. It will take some time and hard work, but I know you are a hard worker and can do the things you set your mind to do. When you see how much easier reading and spelling become for you, you will be excited to read really great books like ________________.” (List books you know he or she would like to be able to read on their own).
“There is something else about having dyslexia. People with dyslexia are REALLY smart. They can do things that other people can’t do. Some are good in sports, art, or music. Some have really good people skills, and they are all out-of-the-box thinkers. That means they have terrific ideas and ways of doing things that no one else has thought of.”
“Let’s look at some famous people who have dyslexia to see what great things people with dyslexia can do.”
(You can give inspiration by discussing famous people with dyslexia who are listed here:
Be sure to encourage your child concerning their strengths.
I like to remember this verse from the Bible:
“I praise You because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.” Psalm 139:14
Conclude with . . .
“I am so thankful for you, and I am grateful that now we know how to make things easier for you.”
Here are some children’s books to enjoy with your child that will help to explain dyslexia. I would encourage you to find a copy at a bookstore or library and read it first. Then choose the stories you think your child would connect to the most to stimulate conversation together.
I Have Dyslexia. What Does That Mean?
by Shelley Ball-Dannenberg and Delaney Dannenberg
It’s Called Dyslexia
by Jennifer Moore- Mallinos
The Alphabet War
by Diane Burton Robb
If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?
by Barbara Esham
My Name is (Brain) Brian
by Jeanne Betancourt
by Kristi Davis