How Can We
By Hans J. A. Dekkers
When your child struggles with reading, know that you are not alone. An estimated 5–10% of children1 struggle with reading.
Reading Struggles or Dyslexia?
The term dyslexia is perceived differently
in society versus the scientific community. We speak of dyslexia when a child
reads too slowly and/or too inaccurately
(guessing words) in spite of adequate instruction, motivation, and intelligence.
Dyslexia has its origins in the unique
neurology of a child. Research has proven that it has nothing to do with intelligence.
2 Your child is not less gifted or less
intelligent but rather slightly different.
How Do Children With Dyslexia
Differ From Others?
To answer this question, I first need to
point out that reading is a learned behavior, just as piano playing and gymnastics
are learned behaviors. Our brain is neurologically wired and arranged for language but not for reading. Reading is an
acquired skill. When we group the different subtypes of reading struggles into categories, four out of five of these types have
difficulty in phonological processing.
A Word on Reading and How
In the reading sciences it has been established that we use two different routes to
transition from the printed letters and
words to reading out loud. Dr. Max Col-theart, Ph.D., has been instrumental in this
research and has published a research paper about the Dual Route Cascaded Model
Dyslexia has its
origins in the unique
neurology of a child.
in 2001.4 When a child learns to read, ev-
ery word is new. New words can be labori-
ously decoded phonetically only by taking
each letter and grapheme and translating
these to sounds or phonemes. This process
is called the Slow Route or Non-Lexical
Route. Take the word deos, for example.
You read this word as “dee-os.”
The other route is the Fast Route or
Lexical Route. This route is the one we
use in fluent reading of words we already
know. Read this sentence, please: “You
can sitll raed tihs whoutit a pboerlm
bucseae the fast ruote deos not raed er-
vey ltteer by istlef.”
Note that you read deos again in this
passage, but this time you actually said
“does.” This demonstrates the reality of
the Slow and Fast Route reading sys-
tems—different routes that use different
logic to arrive at speech.