About Dyslexia

  • What does it mean to have dyslexia?

    Dyslexia is associated specifically with reading difficulty, but it tends to be used as a catch-all term that describes a range of learning difficulties. These can include not just reading (fluency and comprehension), but spelling, writing skills, organization skills (executive function) and even some aspects of speech.

    Dyslexia cannot be cured, but with hard work, practice and effective teaching strategies, individuals with dyslexia can strengthen, overcome or find compensating strategies to improve the areas of language that challenge them.

    Dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties are common; they affect approximately 20% of the population. This means that in a class of 25 students about 6 of them are likely struggling with language.

    A diagnosis of dyslexia does not mean that your child will fail at school or in life. It does mean that the years of schooling ahead (and adult life beyond) will need to be approached with strong and encouraging support, effective teaching strategies, perhaps accommodations (extra time, assistive technologies), a growth mindset and an understanding that it might take more effort by the student to accomplish tasks or learn skills that his or her fellow students complete more easily and quickly.

    Areas affected by dyslexia and other language-learning difficulties vary from person to person, but can include:

  • Language-based skills:

    • Phonological Awareness (pre-reading and spelling stage)
    • Reading fluency
    • Reading comprehension>
    • Spelling
    • Writing skills

  • Executive function skills:

    • Organization skills
    • Time management
    • Emotional control
    • Sustained attention
    • Task initiation
    • Planning and prioritization
    • Goal-directed persistence
  • Structured literacy

    Structured literacy is a teaching approach based on the science of reading. Teachers using a structured literacy approach incrementally introduce children to reading and spelling concepts with explicit instruction. All children benefit from learning to read, spell, and write with a structured literacy approach. Using this approach in all primary classrooms is one of the key recommendations of the 2022 Ontario Right to Read public enquiry. The Educate podcast has some excellent documentaries on the subject.