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The Trouble with Reading (Part I)–Learning to Read

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I recently had some eye-opening experiences regarding reading that I want to share. I love to read, have a reading specialist credential, and am a retired educator of 34 years. I also love to learn, and I did just that this week in reading two different books. I gained a new appreciation of the struggles some readers have with reading.

Although we often think of dyslexia as letter reversals, it is actually a problem that is much wider than that one symptom. Dyslexia is an impaired ability to read and is not correlated with IQ. It can manifest itself in many ways. I don’t have dyslexia, but an Advance Reader Copy I read this week made me feel like I do. Anytime certain pairs of letters should have been present on the page, they were omitted. Here are some examples of the defective text along with what should have appeared on the page.

stu ed-full (stuffed full)
e fat one (The fat one)
on re (on fire)
e notes owed (The notes flowed)
“at’s a rst.” (“That’s a first.”)
BUT MY FAVORITE was a character named “Cli.” It seemed like an unusual name; about half way through the book, I started laughing at myself. I applied the missing letter pattern and discovered that the character is probably named “Cliff.”

The missing letters were: th, ff, fl, fi. Spacing was not always consistent with missing letters. Without context and my understanding of the importance of context, I would have been totally lost. Being able to pick up the pattern was also important. As it was, I had to make myself finish reading the book for the purpose of reviewing, but the experience was less than enjoyable and quite tiring. I put myself in the place of readers who have reading difficulties—letter reversals, words moving across the page, etc. I have renewed sympathy for their struggle. Professionally there are still arguments over causes and remedies, but being given more time to process text and learning coping strategies are helpful to many readers. Those who find reading “natural” and easy can remind themselves that we all have strengths and be thankful that reading is so accessible for them while being supportive and understanding of those for whom reading is a fight for meaning.

Let me assure you that Advance Reader Copies rarely have that many problems and that reviewers are warned that these ebooks have not always undergone the final editing process when they are presented to reviewers. The published book should be and usually is free from errors.

Check back in tomorrow for my reflections on a different type of difficulty I experienced with the other book.


  1. WendyW says:

    I still think there are many people in the US with undiagnosed dyslexia. And I had one ARC that was very difficult to read because of letters that were run together like you demonstrated above. I’m so glad you’re bringing attention to these difficulties.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LA says:

    Very interesting…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes, that sounds awful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gretchen says:

    What an eye opening experience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it. I admit I often take for granted that reading is easy for me. I imagine that reading would be a less enjoyable experience if one had to struggle with each word.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] I gained a new appreciation of the struggles some readers have with reading. If you want to read Part I of The Trouble with Reading which deals with dyslexia, click […]


  6. Thanks for sharing it! Imagine teachers blaming these students for a case they are struggling from!

    Liked by 1 person

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