Kyle is a nice boy going into sixth grade in a few weeks. He’s had a great summer, mostly playing video games, the only thing he truly excels at. Oh, and hanging out with his friends. He’s a popular boy.
Kyle is polite, kind to others, sensitive, and really smart.
He’s dreading going back to school. He’s fully aware that he suffers from dyslexia. He’s fully aware that he’s three grade levels behind in reading. Writing? Forget it. Math? He doesn’t want to even discuss that. Oh, and spelling? What a struggle!
He thinks he’s dumb.
The other kids think he’s dumb.
The teacher will probably think he’s dumb.
Kyle told me he can live with that. Do you want to know what really stresses him out? What keeps a sweet, kind, well-adjusted boy wringing his hands, waking up at night in cold sweats?
It’s the fear of reading out loud in class. It’s the enormity of social embarrassment when he skips over words, guesses at words, mispronounces words, says the wrong word. It’s when he tries desperately to speed through the paragraph he’s been assigned to read aloud to the class. He might as well be diving off a high dive into a bottomless, empty pool.
The snickers. The huffs of cruelty. The teacher’s exasperated expression, even though he knows she’s trying to be patient. The teasing, the taunting. And yes, even some bullying.
Teachers…please. Don’t make these kids read out loud in front of the class. It doesn’t help a thing, and there are much better ways to share content with a class. Principals, if you walk in on a class and find a struggling reader stumbling over words in front of the class, do something about it. End this nonsense!
Parents…please. If you have a child like Kyle, don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t. Advocate for your child. Stand up for Kyle. Stand up for all the Kyles.
Please. I’m begging you.