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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

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  805 ratings  ·  138 reviews
From one of the world’s leading experts on reading and dyslexia, the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and practical book yet to help us understand, identify, and overcome the reading problems that plague American children today. For the one in every five children who has dyslexia and the millions of others who struggle to read at their own grade levels—and for their parents ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 15th 2003 by Knopf (first published April 1st 2003)
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jacky
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
Rachel
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
...more
Sheila
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
Brian
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
Amy
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
Laura
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
...more
Kathy
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
Daina
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
...more
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
Sandy
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
...more
Sarah
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
...more
Skylar Burris
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
Rebecca
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
Susie
The best book I know on dyslexia. Worth reading and rereading,
Jenny
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
Shelley
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
Amanda
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
...more
Elizabeth
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.
Shelley
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.
...more
Katie
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
Kathie Fansler
One in five persons suffer form some form of dyslexia, a specific learning difference. It is truly a brain difference. Advances in technology have made it possible to diagnose and address these brain differences and to mitigate them using specific techniques that are proven to be successful. This is a must read.
Meg
The whole first half of this book was enlightening. It helped me realize there are actual biological reasons for differences in ability to read. I really appreciated that it not only helped to identify problems that children my have in reading, but also the strengths to appreciate.

As I began reading the solutions that Dr. Shaywitz presented, I took careful notes and began implementing them with my children. I also recognized many directions that I found in Spell to Write and Read, a program that
...more
Isabelle
Best book I've read/listened to about dyslexia so far. It is so informative. It is however dense, especially the first few chapters. It was helpful for me to listen to most of the chapters but it was nice to have a hard copy handy for the chapters on tips about how to teach your children how to read.
Jac
Wonderfully informative! My only major criticism is that the book felt increasingly repetative as it progressed. Shaywitz begins with the nature of dyslexia, moves on to diagnosis, then continues with how to help dyslexics become better readers and finally finishes with how to overcome dyslexia. Because so much information is given in the first part in regards to the how and why of dyslexia, I found myself bored when Shaywitz restates the same information as it relates to diagnosis and teaching ...more
Rachel
Thanks to Shaywitz’s thoroughness, I consider her dissection of dyslexia to be very successful. Her in-depth analysis includes what dyslexia really is by discussing neurology, what dyslexia looks like in the lives of students, and beneficial interventions for reading and general academia. Shaywitz breaks down how and why reading is difficult for people with dyslexia. To be true to the book’s title, she discusses why the best programs for reading difficulties truly work by explaining what a skill ...more
Andrea Heapes
Absolutely the best book I've found on dyslexia. Tons of scientific, research based information appropriate for both parents and educators. Well organized and easy to understand. If you only plan to buy one book on dyslexia make it this one.
Michelle
I recommend skimming the info that isn't pertinent to you. A lot of the early part of the book focuses on the brain and brain research. Does a good job of explaining the real particulars of dyslexia. Sadly there are a lot of myths out there but this book put them to rest for me. I now have some tools to work with.
Tiffany
If you have a child who has or you suspect might have Dyslexia, this book is a must read!! I went into Barnes and Noble, picked this book up, and didn't realize until afterwards that this author truly is one of the leaders of the field, and if you're going to read a book on this topic- you want to read what she has to say! First section talks about the scientific/biological differences that happen in the brain of a dyslexic child, and the second half talks about what schools and parents can/shou ...more
Tricia
This is an absolute must read for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of dyslexia. Sally Shaywitz is a leading expert in this field.
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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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