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Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
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Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  1,099 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Clear, practical, science-based information and advice for successful results

One in five American children has trouble reading. But they are not stupid or lazy. In Overcoming Dyslexia, Dr. Sally Shaywitz, codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and a leader in the new research into how the brain works, offers
ebook, 432 pages
Published December 24th 2008 by Vintage (first published April 1st 2003)
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Shaywitz explains that in brain imaging studies, fluent readers show activation in the back of the brain and very little in the front, while dyslexic people show underactivation in the back and more up front. She asserts that these images reveal "exactly where and how dyslexia manifests itself in the brain." I say they mostly just show us that dyslexic people don't read fluently. Um, duh.

So what's the difference between dyslexic and illiterate? Shaywitz offers the "sea of strengths" (i.e. dispar
Jul 22, 2008 jacky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education, grad, 2008
I chose to read this book because when I was tested for a learning problems in about 1987, the testing 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 co ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Sheila rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio. I only got through the third cassette tape before I couldn't take it anymore. I thought it might have some fun ideas for playing with language with children. But it was so mainstream in its thinking about education. It spent so much time giving examples of children who had "problems" and proving why late readers had something wrong with them. There were example after example of kids who were in remedial reading programs and continued having problems into adulthood, b ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read lots of books about teaching struggling readers – what to teach, how to teach, etc., but never a book that digs into the science of why they struggle. The chapter on brain systems for reading just blew me away. It was so fascinating to see how struggling readers access different brain areas when reading compared to proficient readers, and how targeted instruction can actually rewire pathways in the brain. And of course, Shaywitz gave lots of great explanation about dyslexia – what it i ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good explanation of the neurological basis of dyslexia. Also good insight into the lives of children and adults who suffer from dyslexia. There is information in this book to help parents and loved ones understand someone with dyslexia. Most importantly, it destroys the myths that surround this subject. Dyslexia is real and lifelong. You learn to work around it, but it is always there. Some of the most successful people in society have dyslexia. Early intervention is key. I also liked that ...more
Skylar Burris
Dec 30, 2014 Skylar Burris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
There is so much packed into this book, which, except for some excessive repetition (typical of most nonfiction of its kind), is easy and interesting to read. There are a number of practical suggestions (from details on fluency training to lists of prefixes, suffixes, and commonly used words to emphasize with your dyslexic child), a brief history of the recognition of dyslexia over time, the brain science involved in dyslexia, how to talk to your child about his dyslexia, what to look for in a s ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read book for everybody. With 1/5 people having dyslexia you are sure to know somebody with this issue (although there is a large spectrum of how it affects people). I think there are more myths about dyslexia than any other disability out there. I consider myself a pretty well educated person and I believed every single one of those myths until I started researching dyslexia when my middle child was diagnosed with it earlier this year. I now constantly hear those same myths from ...more
I'm the dyslexic contact for my school. I teach dyslexic students in middle school. My brother and uncle are both so dyslexic that they are functionally illiterate. I am dyslexic. I had a lot of reasons to read this book when I saw it on the shelves of the teacher library.

It took me forever (and a day) to read the book. It's jam-packed with information. As when I read any dense book, I had to take breaks in my reading. There's lots and lots to read, understand, and internalize.

Monday evening, I
Apr 06, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my go to book for all things Dylexia! Sally Shaywitz and her husband Bennet are the leading experts on dealing with Dyslexia. Both are highly credentialed MD's who have devoted their lives and careers to the study of learning differences, specifically Dislexia. My copy is highlighted and dog-eared and I have read and re-read it several times. Their recommendations come backed by years of evidence based research and are practical and motivating. It is informative but also inspiring. It gi ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Daina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for understanding how we learn to read. My son is really struggling with reading and even though he doesn't have a true diagnosis this book at least helped me understand the process a little better.

I have a degree in education and unbelieveably we were not actually taught how children learn to read. I went to school during a time when "whole language" was hip and it has since been proved to be completely useless when it comes to actually teaching children to read.

After readi
Tara Hendershot Beck
My only complaint about this book is that, while it stresses the importance of early identification, it doesn't draw enough attention to those Kindergarten and first graders who appear to be good readers but are relying on context clues and memorization to get themselves by. These kids often show signs of their Dyslexia, however, in their writing and sometimes in their speech. They may not start to show that they struggle with their reading until later grades. Recognizing that dyslexia affects m ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Sandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a mixed review of this book. Some parts I learned a lot from. I especially enjoyed learning about the studies done comparing the brain patterns of normal vs dyslectic brains and how she broke down the process and development of reading skills.

However if you are writing a book called "Overcoming Dyslexia" it is disappointing to conclude with the fact that 'dyslexia is a chronic condition; it is not outgrown." In my opinion, her basic premise that you must seek out and rely on "accommodati
Jul 30, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
This is a good book for parents or for adult dyslexics. As a reading specialist, I read it because I know it is a commonly-recommended text on dyslexia and I liked reading the brain research. But, this book is not an in-depth prescription for "overcoming" dyslexia. The text makes it sound like you pick the right educational program and provide the child with lots of practice and Viola! all is better (especially because, she claims that dyslexics are able to compensate for word-solving challenges ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly beach reading but I did read it while on the beach in Belize. I could not put it down! I did not read it cover to cover, but skipped the chapters on adolescents and adults, skimmed the history chapter and a few other sections. I was floored by the chapters on the brain and the different literal pathways built in struggling vs. skilled readers' brains. Freeways vs. back roads. Amazing. I gathered so many ideas that I'm anxious to use to help my struggling reader. I wish I had read thi ...more
Mar 29, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I have two dyslexic students who see me for educational therapy weekly. I found so much usable information in these pages. It was clearly and meaningfully written. Any parent who is teaching their child to read OR looking for ways to effectively help their dyslexic reader would benefit from reading this book.
The way the book is set up allows the reader to skip to the parts that give them what they are seeking. If one already understands how children learn to read, one can go o
Mar 01, 2016 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we first learned our son had dyslexia, this was the book that was recommended for us to begin reading. I'm glad I started with this book. Sally nicely and creatively describes/explains dyslexia so that a person like me can understand what I only once knew as a dictionary definition. She makes the book very easy to read through when educational books are often hard to get through. It certainly has made me have a better appreciation and patience for what my son is going through. I highly reco ...more
Mar 28, 2009 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best book I know on dyslexia. Worth reading and rereading,
Wendy Leonard-Richardson
This is a great resource for those wanting or needing to know more about dyslexia. It gives some of the science behind what exactly is dyslexia and how to compensate for it. It also refutes some of the common misconceptions regarding dyslexia.

This book is not really set up for a dyslexic reader though. Granted, the greater scientific detail is required for the background information so unfamiliar words will be present. But the print is small and there is little spacing making it more difficult t
Overcoming Dyslexia

It took some time to finish this book because I kept re-reading parts of it. I could not decide if I should just read this book cover to cover or learn from it as a college text book! I have used what I have learned in this book in constructing one of the main characters, who is dyslexic, in my recently released book, Canadian Visitor (
My conclusion nevertheless is that Dr. Sally Shaywitz has produced an outstanding book that is a must-read for a
Apr 14, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be an excellent source of information. The brain research and functional MRIs were particularly fascinating. I think the book has several strengths. It dispels many of the myths about dyslexia. It provides a road map for students and parents to advocate for appropriate accommodations even in a post graduate setting.

There were a few points on which I disagree with the author. While explicit sequential multi-sensory phonics instruction is key fo
Oct 23, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaywitz packs this book with tons of information on dyslexia including the science on how the dyslexic brain learns. She also includes the best ways to teach reading for dyslexia and the importance of keeping the dyslexic student's sense of worth intact. She reminds us that people with dyslexia are bright, creative individuals who simply learn in a different way. I love her positive view of dyslexia and her desire to be an advocate for all who suffer with this disability. This is an excellent b ...more
Sally Shaywitz has done brilliant work with her MRI imaging however, she then makes a huge leap to suggest more phonics training for dyslexics even though her own research has proved that dyslexics are using completely different pathways for reading. I was also disturbed to read of her assurance that all children would learn to read by adopting her recommendations of extensive phonic training. I am very glad I didn't read of this assurance 15 years ago when we were looking for some answers for o ...more
Aug 17, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, self-help
I had so many "Ah-ha!" moments in this book, it was quite remarkable. The first part was very helpful, inspirational, and insightful in particular. If you have troubles reading, pick up this book (there is an audiobook version available). I definitely feel like I understand myself better now than before, there was so much helpful information.

That being said, if you are an adult with dyslexia but have overcome most of the reading hurdles, there isn't much here you are going to get to break the av
Nov 02, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book dispelled the myths for me. It gave me an excellent understanding of dyslexia itself - its neurological basis, how it is diagnosed, and what a dyslexic is likely to experience with reading and other subjects.

Unfortunately, the "Overcoming" part of this book's title was a little misleading. If anything, I felt that this book was missing some very needed practical advice. She wrote plenty about the science of dyslexia, but, after I finished this book, I was still left wondering what I co
May 08, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Helpful in all stages- wondering about a reading problem, to identifying it through observation and testing, to treatment. This book also covers all ages preschool through adult.

Sections are outdated (2003) especially on website references and assistive technology. The concepts still apply.

Most helpful advice for overcoming dyslexia is 1) intense individualized instruction 2) using an evidence-based program and qualified teacher 3) for a significant duration of time.
Jan 26, 2010 Shelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
20% of people are dyslexic. it is an explicit diagnosis and not a generalized term for reading problems. Dr. Shaywitz is a world leader in this arena. Every pediatrician should read this book and assist with diagnosing it. Your child is more likely to be dyslexic than any of the other obscure illness your pediatrician is looking for.

my daughter is dyslexic. we didn't discover this until the middle of 6th grade because the "experts" kept giving her the diagnosis of a general learning disability.
Zorro Lopez
Jun 08, 2015 Zorro Lopez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Book! I started this book on Friday, June 5th, and could not wait to finish it. I only wish I could have read it the day it was published. Dr. Sally Shaywitz a neuroscientist does an excellent job explaining dyslexia in great detail. I strongly recommend this book for everyone who has a child about to enter pre-school. Early detection is the key to becoming a better reader. I also recommend this book to adults who suspect they have dyslexia. This book explains a lot.
Jan 17, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Dyslexia is not a discrete state. It's not "yes, you are" or "no, you're not." There are ranges of disability. So even though my child has not been diagnosed dyslexic, he's behind on his reading, and I worry. This book alternately made me worry more, and then eased my mind. This book gives you the facts and the research-based programs that will work. More of a guide to how to make sure your school is doing its best to help your reading-challenged child than how to do it yourself as a parent. A l ...more
Heather Constantino
I picked up this book after is was recommended to my by a psychologist after I had my son tested for a reading disorder. I found it to be very informative and it helped me to understand better how my sons brain works when it comes to reading. The checklist of things to look for in children with dyslexia almost exactly matched the problems that I was seeing in my son. The book also gives good ideas on how to approach his reading problems so that he may receive the help that he needs. We currently ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Marty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent description of dyslexia and excellent description of how children learn to read. Dyslexia doesn't have anything to do with writing letters backwards, but is the inability to distinguish phonemes, the sounds of a language. This is a very interesting and practical book for anyone who is interesting in language and reading.
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Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at the Yale University School of Medicine, is the Co-Director of the newly formed Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Dr. Shaywitz received her B.A. (with honors) from the City University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and her M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has devoted her career to ...more
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