• M. Kovack

Is Dyslexia really a thing?

Yes and no. It is not as simple as saying that someone has dyslexia, and someone does not have dyslexia. This is because reading difficulties lie on a spectrum (think of an ark) whereby those who struggle profoundly with learning to read are at one end of the spectrum, and those who learn to read effortlessly by the time they are four years old are at the other end of the spectrum. However, the brain structure and function of those at the 'struggling' end of the spectrum is so significantly different, we use the term dyslexia to signify that for these 5-15% of people, reading and reading instruction requires more of an effort. The International Dyslexia Association has an abundance of research and resources that explain all of this. The Ontario branch, in particular, is one of the most comprehensive websites I've ever seen. It sheds light on high quality reading instruction - not only for students with dyslexia, but for all children. The bottom line is that the most impactful change we can make toward more equitable access to print is to use structured literacy approaches to learning to read. This benefits all, harms no one, and is absolutely critical for those with dyslexia. In a recent position statement from Lucy Calkins (2019), "the pipeline of children with untreated dyslexia to prison is real, to say nothing of the relationship between dyslexia and emotional stress, social problems, academic achievement, and more" (p. 7).


Calkins, Lucy. (2019). No one gets to own the term "the science of reading". The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Facebook Page. November 21 8:53pm,

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