You may not know it, but Jody (and most of her family) has struggled with dyslexia. Nonetheless, she also made straight A’s in her Masters program (Education). That certainly helped us believe a different kind of homeschool writing curriculum could make a difference.

So, also having a couple of borderline dyslexics in our homeschool, here’s my response to a note from Kimberly—


Hey Kimberly,

In the final analysis, most Dyslexia will leak out from time-to-time even if a person has mostly conquered it.

So…first…you have to accept that fact. It isn’t necessarily a big deal. Jody still makes some mistakes in writing, but she also can catch them, admit it, and move along.

It is important to recognize that the challenge has to do with brain processing. A dyslexic brain just looks/organizes things differently. This is valuable to remember because it invites you to learn how to put information in so it comes out as you want

Dyslexia can be an advantage too…especially in the realm of helpfully looking at things from a different vantage point (a hallmark of creativity). Most “Dysfunctions” are simply a dysfunction in a particular environment & and a strength in another environment. People who don’t ‘focus’ well and are easy to interrupt…are GREAT in emergency settings (people who hyper-focus usually stink because they can’t easily triage). Boys who can’t sit still in class may very well make a fortune ‘running around’ a football field

In my experience here are four things that seem to help dyslexics deal with the orderly world of reading:

1. Read out loud. We had our two border-line dyslexics do this everyday. Even reading alone is great. Reading out loud includes more input (hearing)…so the brain has more to work with. When you have your child read a sentence out loud and it isn’t read correctly, then stop and have her read it again (and again) until it is correct. Your student really needs to see what ‘right’ looks like to hook up his brain correctly for reading.

2. Write, and then, read what they wrote out loud. Again, more opportunity to make sense of language in their brains. Here too, they should write AND read a sentence (out loud) until they get it just right. You just have to show a brain what ‘right’ looks like.

3. Do more phonics. Phonics cracks the code for reading. In some studies it seems that using a whole-language (or other non-phonics systems) can actually generate or increase dyslexia in some people. Really learning phonics can take your child a long way.

4. Use handedness as an analogy. Only about 7% of people are lefties…and they figure out how to get along in a right-handed world. The key is that you sort of have to learn how to run your own brain / handedness…in your own way. Oh, and lefties are often valuable (example: pitchers and hitters in Major League Baseball).

That’s a start; hope it helps.


Fred Ray Lybrand
The Writing Course Homeschool Writing Curriculum