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Dyslexia - info for school kids

learning; disability; sight; vision; reading; difficulty; difficulties; spelling; dyslexia; learn; read; spell; dyslexic; learning; ;


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is the name for troubles that some kids and adults have with reading and writing. They read more slowly than other people and they may make lots of spelling errors. They are usually good at working things out and talking about their ideas, but they often hate having to read out loud to other people.

Dyslexia wasn't a problem when people did not have to read and write.

The brain is like a really clever detective. It collects all the messages from all your senses, (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting), then uses them like clues to work out what is happening all around you, thinks things through and tells you what to do very quickly.

If someone has dyslexia (say dis-lex-i-a) then the collecting part of the brain which deals with language may get the seeing and hearing messages muddled up .This means the detective part of the brain can't work things out correctly and is not sure what to do, so the person feels confused and gets upset trying to work out what are the right messages.

Living with dyslexia can be a minor problem for some people and a big problem for others.

Kids who have dyslexia are often pretty smart or even super smart, so it must be really frustrating for them to have problems in reading, spelling, listening and understanding. Often others in the family have some difficulties too - it can be inherited - passed down in genes through mum or dad.

Dyslexia literally means having trouble with reading, but the word is used to cover other aspects of language.

  • Phonological (fon-oh-loj-ik-al) awareness which means being able to work out the sounds in spoken words.
  • Verbal memory - being able to remember, understand and use spoken language.
  • Verbal processing speed - how quickly a person can remember, choose and use the ‘right’ word in spoken or written language.

What does dyslexia look like?

There are many signs of dyslexia. People who have dyslexia may have one or more of these:

  • Reading very slowly and making mistakes.
  • Not remembering or understanding what they just read.
  • Not remembering or understanding what they just heard.
  • Writing letters in the wrong order in a word.
  • Difficulty working out the separate sounds which make up a word.
  • Skipping words or lines when reading aloud.
  • Finding it difficult to copy accurately from the board.
  • Having problems writing neatly.
  • Finding it hard to understand and follow instructions.
  • Having problems learning spelling words.
  • Finding it hard to remember the 'look' of words


Of course there are times when all of us don't listen well, or make mistakes in writing, but we can usually know when we have not been on task or have made a mistake and we can put it right.

  • People with dyslexia will have to learn to be very, very careful to check their work and their understanding all the time.

What you can do

If you or your friend are trying really hard to learn but are finding it really hard to understand, if you have problems in reading, writing and spelling even when you spend a lot of time trying your hardest, then you need to talk.

  1. Talk to your mum, dad or caregiver.
  2. Talk to your teacher.
  3. Talk to your doctor.

Mum may talk to your teacher and your doctor.

Your teacher may give you some special help. If the tests show that you have dyslexia then there are special programs that you can do at home and at school to help you learn and cope.

Your doctor may want you to have eye tests, hearing tests and psychological tests to see why you are having problems learning. Don't worry these tests don't hurt.

  • The eye doctor will want to see how well your eyes work in different ways.
    • Can you see things clearly when they are close to you?
      Can you see things clearly when they are further away?
      Do both eyes work together to give you a clear picture?
    • These tests will help decide if you have a vision problem or a learning problem like dyslexia.
  • The psychologist will want to find out if you have a learning disability and suggest ways to help you.
  • The hearing test will tell if you need support to hear more clearly in your class.

What some kids say

reading with glasses"I have learned that I make spelling mistakes even when I’m trying really hard so I use a dictionary or my spellchecker all the time to check my work." Anna

 "My mum told me that she has dyslexia too, but she has a really good job and is really smart." Jason

"My teacher told me that lots of really famous people had dyslexia, I think one of them was Albert Einstein. She said that dyslexic kids are not dumb they just learn differently." Mayur

face"I try really hard to write neatly but my page doesn't look as neat as my friends. My teacher knows that I am trying and she has told me to always write up close to the margin and always use a ruler to underline work and that helps to make my page look neater. I get to do a lot of work on my computer too so I can use a spellcheck."  Kristen

"I did special courses to help me read and write when I was in Grade 4. I went to a teacher after school.

"I may have dyslexia, but I am still the best netball player in my team." Georgia

Dr Kim says:

Dr KimAsk an athlete how did she get to be so good at her sport or event and she will say, 'practise'.

Everyone has some talent or gift for doing something really well, but everyone also finds some things really hard to do. Everyone has to work really hard at some things. 

Kids with dyslexia have to work really hard on listening too.

  • Listening to what people say.
  • Listening to instructions.
  • Listening to themselves reading out loud or inside their heads.
  • Practising spelling and practising writing.
All this means extra work for a kid. Then the writing may still not look too neat!
Talk with mum and your teacher so that you still get some time for fun too!

Want to know more about people who became famous even though they had dyslexia? Ask your teacher if she or he could help you do an Internet search to find out. 

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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