My Red Letter 2017 - L015 - Victoria

This year I have written my Red Letter in the form of a poem to each of my students. As a specialist dyslexia teacher, I have the great pri...

This year I have written my Red Letter in the form of a poem to each of my students. As a specialist dyslexia teacher, I have the great privilege of working with amazingly strong and talented, quirky and intelligent students every day. As an adult dyslexic learner myself, this is a great joy and inspiration to me as a teacher and also as a member of the human race.

Hero

Beautiful and precious dyslexic child, 
This letter of hopeful thanks is yours. 
You will always be my greatest hero 
And the inspiration that forces change.

To you who stand, dauntlessly strong, 
Despite the constantly raging storm of a 
Weary world that knows you not. A world 
That sees your pain, yet helps you not.

To the timid soul who secretly cowers 
In a sea of unintelligible, hollow words 
But holds fast. I see your silent strength 
As you cradle your fragile, anxious heart.

Forged by ingenuity’s power-fuelled fire 
And protected by a self-made cocoon,  
My hero, the creator artist, stands crafting 
Future joy from adversity’s brittle shards.

Racing through, resting on silent strength, 
You dance and run, and kick that baleful ball 
As if it were those who laugh or fail to help. 
Determination etched within, you stand tall.

To the little one who cradles a love-worn tale 
Endlessly hoping, struggling, fighting to read. 
Your battle grinds beauty into bitter tears but,
In bleeding hands, you grasp that precious book.

Here stands my hero, exhausted by the battle. 
Here stands a precious soul whose strength 
To wake each day to read, and read again, 
Stirs me to hold that weary hand and fight.


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My Red Letter 2017 - L014 - Cat Rodie

Cat Rodie is an Australian freelance journalist, she also has Dyslexia.  In support of the My Red Letter campaign she has written her ow...

Cat Rodie is an Australian freelance journalist, she also has Dyslexia. 

In support of the My Red Letter campaign she has written her own red letter in an article published in The Age. 

You can read the full article here

Dear Faye,

Teachers told me that I was stupid and lazy so often that I started to believe it was true. I'd stopped trying so hard – what was the point? My efforts always ended in brutal humiliation. I was close to giving up altogether.

I vividly recall the moment you explained dyslexia to me. It sounds like a cliché to say a great weight lift from my shoulders, but there isn't another way to describe the feeling. Suddenly there was a reason that I was struggling. I wasn't stupid or lazy – my brain was just wired differently.

I floated out of your office with a new hope for the future – my dreams were not lost after all. The next day I walked into school with a new conviction. My diagnosis was like a superpower – it gave me the strength to fight back.

My school days are long behind me now, and I've stopped fighting. I still can't spell (my kids ask Siri when they need a word spelled out) but I am writing for a living, just like I always wanted.

Thank you for explaining the gift of dyslexia to me.

With love,

Cat


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My Red Letter 2017 - E013 - Jan

Entry:  013 Name:  Jan Age:  Adult Champion:  Mr Clarke (My 3rd Grade Teacher) I don’t have dyslexia, but I found out about it in the...

Entry: 013
Name: Jan
Age: Adult
Champion: Mr Clarke (My 3rd Grade Teacher)

I don’t have dyslexia, but I found out about it in the 60s before it even had a name. That is when our teacher showed a whole class  that kids who couldn’t read or spell, were not only not stupid , but clever and hard working.  I was 7 years old and have never forgotten what he did and what a great lesson he taught, one that I have never forgotten.

We had reading every morning when each of us had a turn. We had to stand and read from our current reader, I was a good reader and I loved this part of the day.  But there were two girls, in our class who must have  hated  this part of the day. Their reading was painfully slow and torturous, for them to read out loud and for us to have to listen to. 

This particular morning Mr Clarke got both of them to stand up together and do the reading together. They started to read, and read the first few sentences perfectly, we were amazed. Then Mr. Clarke took their books away mid - sentence and they went on reading ..without the books. They had both learnt the whole chapter off by heart word perfect.  When they finished our teacher asked them to sit down after telling them what a great job they had done. He had obviously set this up and the girls looked very happy but a bit embarrassed too.

He then explained to the class that for most of us reading was easy, but that for some it was really hard. He explained that the two girls had worked really hard to first read then learn the whole book off word perfect, so that just once they could stand and “read” in front of the class without feeling stupid. He explained how much harder they had worked and how much cleverer than the rest of us “good readers” they were because they had  learnt the book by heart. 


I have never forgotten that lesson - that people who can’t read aren’t stupid and they are often cleverer than the rest of us.



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My Red Letter 2017 - E012 - Tenzin

Entry:  0012 Name:  Tenzin Age:  10 Champion:  Mum / Vicki (Tutor) / Richard Branson Click on the below links for more inf...

Entry: 0012
Name: Tenzin
Age: 10
Champion: Mum / Vicki (Tutor) / Richard Branson





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My Red Letter 2017 - E011 - Fletcher

Entry:  011 Name:  Fletcher Age:  8 Champion:  Bec (Tutor) My Dyslexia Champion is my tutor Bec. She helps me work out words by sound...

Entry: 011
Name: Fletcher
Age: 8
Champion: Bec (Tutor)

My Dyslexia Champion is my tutor Bec. She helps me work out words by sounding the letters out.

In my lesson with her we play sport to learn words because she knows I like sport a lot!

Sometimes I jump to the syllables of words on her trampoline.

She also lets me play games on the computer to help me learn.

At school, I ask the people I sit with to help me with words I can't read but they won't help me. 

This makes me feel sad but when I'm with Bec she makes me feel clever and says I do a good job!

This is why Bec is my Dyslexia Champion!


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My Red Letter 2017 - E010 - Jacob

Entry:  010 Name:  Jacob Age:  11 Champion:  Mrs Gavin(Tutor) My champion is my tutor Mrs Gavin. She has taught me language since yea...

Entry: 010
Name: Jacob
Age: 11
Champion: Mrs Gavin(Tutor)

My champion is my tutor Mrs Gavin. She has taught me language since year one then she left the school and tutored me. She has helped me to learn to write better and showed me different techniques about how to write story’s better. She also helps me make my writing neater and helped me to spell better. When I had a rough time at school I talk to her about it and she helps me and sometimes when i’m sad she tells me how smart I am. Mrs Gavin also is really fun and let’s me play learning games sometimes. Also when I am good she gives me lollies.


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My Red Letter 2017 - E009 - Isabelle

Entry:  009 Name:  Isabelle Age:  Adult Champion:  Kristy (Tutor) Kristy is our dyslexia champion, and more. We are infinitely gratef...

Entry: 009
Name: Isabelle
Age: Adult
Champion: Kristy (Tutor)

Kristy is our dyslexia champion, and more. We are infinitely grateful for what she has accomplished with Elliot. Our family feels whole again.

Before we met Kristy, we had a broken child. Kristyʼs thorough knowledge of how to teach literacy as well as her deep commitment, gentle demeanour and nurturing approach have given back to Elliot the happiness and self-confidence heʼd lost.

Only six or seven months ago, Elliot was a “clean slate”. When we started working with Kristy, he barely knew 3 letters of the alphabet after nearly 2 years of primary school (where he was unfortunately taught through a Whole Language Approach).

Our 6-year-old child was falling apart in front of our eyes and as his mother, I felt hopeless. I would read to him daily, attempt to teach him the alphabet... and even became his classroom helper —all to no avail. I soon suspected he had dyslexia, but I didnʼt know how to teach him to read. I was expecting school to teach him this fundamental skill —and basic human right. Little did I know...

His first school brushed my concerns aside, and so did our school in Melbourne after we returned to Australia earlier this year. I then decided to take the matter into my own hands, as I knew very well that my son would not “be fine”. We started an intervention before even getting Elliot diagnosed by an educational psychologist. It turned out I was right and he had mild to moderate dyslexia.

The evidence-based approach used by Kristy was very effective, very quickly. We saw massive improvement in decoding (reading) and Elliotʼs perception of himself dramatically improved in less than 2 weeks. There was nothing wrong with him! He wasnʼt “dumb”... He was starting to recognise and identify letter sounds... and read words! It felt like nothing short of a miracle. 

Gradually Elliot stopped saying things such as “Iʼm stupid”, “I hate myself” and “I want to die”. This is what heʼd been telling us ever since he started primary school, and his mounting anxiety had been affecting all aspects of his life.

Kristy has answered our prayers and helped put Elliot back together. She not only gave him the gift of literacy, she also gave him his self-esteem and his zest for life back. Words cannot express how we all feel about Kristy and what she has achieved. She is our angel and we feel blessed that she is in our lives!


Thank you, Kristy, our Dyslexia Champion,  from the bottom of our hearts.



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