Nicola's Reviews > The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read...and How They Can Learn

The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis
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's review
May 31, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: non-fiction, education, library

Where do I start with this book? Where do I start?

The Gift of Dyslexia is filled with unsubstantiated pseudo-science (go look up all Ron Davis’s credentials – oh wait, he has none!), but even if we take his anecdotal evidence as fact, there’s still a big, huge flaw.

Davis posits that dyslexics’ brains work very, very fast, and they are able to instantly view any object from hundreds of different angles. Great for identifying things around you, he says, but not great for reading, where you need to understand the words on the page as symbols, rather than as objects.

The ability to “see in 3D”, which Davis’s theory hinges upon, is well-established in the field of dyslexia. But, crucially, just as well established is the fact that not all dyslexics have this ability. For that matter, not all dyslexics have problems reading. (For many dyslexics, their problem area is Maths, for example.) And, even if you do use Davis’s techniques to refocus this ability to see in 3D, what about other classic dyslexic weaknesses, like poor working memory and problems with auditory discrimination (distinguishing between similar letter-sounds)? Are we just supposed to pretend those don’t exist?

At best, this book should be retitled The Gift Of A Select Number of Dyslexics. And if it were viewed, as it should be, as a radical reading of dyslexia (a bit like “The Gift of Dyslexia is to Educational Psychology is as The Secret is to financial planning”), I couldn’t begrudge that.

Yet, the fact is, if you type “dyslexia” into, this is the first book you are offered (it’s number 3 on This is what people are reading to understand dyslexia! All Davis offers is unsubstantiated personal experience spun into “science”. Plus, learning techniques that, at best, involve repetition through multi-sensory learning (which is about the most basic remedial learning technique there is) and, at worst, involve bonkers magical thinking.

The fact that Ron Davis has clearly made a lot of money, both through the sale of this book and by “franchising” his learning techniques, really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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05/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Daria Boissonnas Interesting points. I'm sorry you're upset. I can't think of any self-help book or technique that works for ALL people with a certain condition.

I appreciate his new thinking. I had never ever read such a perfect description of what happens in my head when I read as he wrote in this book. I literally sat with my mouth open, and then ran and read it to my husband. And I believe he does have quite a bit of evidence from people who have taken his programs and improved their reading. I certainly found the exercises helpful.

Finally, as a business consultant, I doubt he's made THAT much money. His methods are fairly labor intensive and not easily leveraged. And if he has made life easier for the people he has helped, why not charge for that? You can't ask for more in self-help. :)

Roseanna Martinez The book does actually explain how to use the methods for all typesof symptoms, like numbers (which are basically the same as letters), auditory discrimination, etc. I have personally seen the method work on 8 people, all types and severity of symptoms.

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