I tutor children with dyslexia every day. I see them struggle with three and four syllable words, and mis-read the middle or last syllable often. I teach strategies to help them avoid this, but no one is 100% accurate.
The other day, I was reading an article about Germany, and the article had lots of long German words in it. I found that my mind automatically skipped over these long, hard, German words. I found myself hoping I could still understand the article, even though I was ignoring and bypassing these words.
Entschuldigung (excuse me)
Tageskalender (day calendar)
Videokamera (video camera)
einfache entscheidung (easy decision)
Then, I thought, A-HA! This is how my students feel when they encounter a long word! I need to go back and try to read and decode these words, even if they are in German, using the strategies I teach my kids. And, I found it difficult, even though two of the words do look a lot like their English counterparts: Tageskalender (day calendar) and Videokamera (video camera).
The next day I told my student, Ella, of my experience. She said to me: “And then, when you encounter that difficult word, and you are trying to figure out what it is…pretend there is a jackhammer going off in your brain and at the same time, you are panicking. That is what dyslexia feels like.”
Written by Heidi Kroner and her student Ella