For all of my blogs, try to forgive my errors. See why below...
In about 1987, I underwent testing which resulted in my mother being told that I am dyslexic. When I received my permanent record as an adult, I didn't see the word dyslexia anywhere in the documents including my IEP. Growing up, I was told that dyslexia was why I made reversals in my spelling and it was why I read slowing, but that was the extent of my knowledge on the subject until I did limited internet research on the topic in college, but my true understanding of dyslexia came from reading the book discussed below.
At the present, my dyslexia usually does not impact my daily life. It rears its head usually only when I have to sound out unfamiliar words or spell words like "unfamiliar" (multiple syllables with lots of vowels or tricky spelling traps). Usual traps for these symptoms would be last names and made up words (such as found in Harry Potter). But I also sometimes have trouble coming up with an extact word I'm looking for quickly. While my reading speed has picked up, I still read slow for an English teacher and sometimes suprised my honors tracked students with the slower speed of my reading. It was important to me that they learn that speed doesn't not equate depth of understanding.
Over the years, I've had a lot of time to analyze my dyslexia. When I look back at my education, I know understand that my dyslexia had a lot to do with my problems as a student. Not only did it affect my spelling and reading speed, but my difficulty with pronunciation made reading aloud very embarrassing which further compounded my shy disposition. Even though I coped well with my dyslexia by high school, foreign languages were the new arena. I figured I just wasn't meant to learn a language when I had trouble listening and speaking it. I thought only the spelling could be blamed on my dyslexia, but that was not the case. I also believe that I learned to adapt into a good lecture listener and note taker to make up for my inability to read the textbook reading assigned to me in a timely manner.
Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
I was killing time in a Border's in the education section on evening. Scanning the selves quickly, I saw Overcoming Dyslexia and read a few pages; I was interested but not enough to purchase it. When it appeared on a list for course work, I had to read it.
The biggest thing I learned personally was a better understanding of my symptoms as a dyslexic. I thought, like most of the public does, that all dyslexics make reversals and have trouble with right and left. It turns out this is not true! Instead, dyslexia really is based on problems with phonological awareness. As I learned more about how it is that the we learn to read and how the brain works, I understood my behaviors more. For example, I can read quickly now because I have memorized words, but when I encounter new words, or when I tired to learn a foreign language, I have a lot of trouble sounding out the words. I frequently leave out syllables or mess up the vowels. Another behavior I have is using vague words when talking because I can call up the exact term fast enough. I never knew that had to do with my dyslexia.
About half way through the book, I realized that the author had different political beliefs than me. She was behind NCLB and the National Reading Panel's interpretation of reliable research, while I disagree with both. She also continued on to endorse a strictly phonics approach to reading saying that research shows that it must be systematic and explicit. This contradicts the opinions I've heard in courses I have taken in this program and other research I read for this course. This made believing in her ideas wholeheartedly hard for me once I saw these differences in our beliefs.
What my biggest question while reading was was that over and over again Shaywitz said that adults dyslexics read laboriously slow and were not fluent. That is not the case with me. I used to read slowly and have immense trouble reading aloud, but through practice I seemed to outgrow it, which Shaywitz said was impossible due to how a dyslexics brain is wired. So, am I really dyslexic? It isn't actually in my file anywhere, but I have so many characteristics.
I anticipated that I would learn a lot of information about young adult dyslexics and use that in my teaching. However, the information that I found most useful for my teaching was learning how we learn to read. I was never taught this in college and never received as in depth yet clearly presented time line and descriptions as I had in this book. This information will help me to recognize problems of all sorts in my older readers, not just dyslexia. It also will be helpful when I become a parent, especially since dyslexia seems to be genetic, which I previously didn't know.