I have a friend, over 30, who is convinced she cannot really read. Of course; she can read, but she struggles so much with sorting letters into words that she cannot absorb the content. Playing - say - Trivial Pursuit - she looks at the letters; pronounce the words, makes them into sentences, but (says) she does not understand the question until I either answer or say it back to her, or she reads it a second time. She is now, for other reasons, back to school, as she needs to find another profession. I am, in an unofficial capacity, her personal tutor.
The consensus during her school years was that she was extremely dyslectic, a hopeless case, and her teachers let her "get away with it": unlike other students, she did not have to read aloud in class etc (this makes me furious to think about, that they did not give her the help she needed).
She is nowhere near stupid, but insists she is, and that she is so dyslectic that there is nothing that can be done about it. Recently, she took a dyslectic-test and consistently get the worst scores possible.
My suspicion is that she is NOT half as dyslectic as she is made out to be: I think this is largely a learned thing. Since teachers gave up on her; why should she believe she can? Yes, she probably is dyslectic, but the result of incompetent teachers have made her predicament much, much worse.
Fact is; when she has to write things, there are not really all that many spelling mistakes, the sentences are coherent, and she is very good at the logic needed to write - say - a (slightly academic) essay, she is excellent at writing stories, petites. She does, however, have a problem extracting the essence of what she reads. I do think though, that this is largely due to the learned view "I cannot do this, I am too stupid and massively dyslectic". Interestingly, last semester she consistently got top grades in the (native) language class where both content and spelling was important.
This results in (partly learned?) dyslexia as a "gateway" to the crippling thought: "I am an idiot. Why should I try? I will simply spend my life watching television.".
We do not read single letters in words we are familiar with; we largely see the "picture" of a word and make an educated guess/reasonable assumption based on the context. She is visual enough to master this. Having given up on words; there is a possibility that she does not bother to learn them, and hence cannot recognise the word-picture.
I realise this is a very specific example, but my general question is:
- How do you teach adults to read?
- Is it possible to somehow measure the "I have given up" against real dyslexia?
- How is it possible to motivate an adult other than "you will get good grades if you improve on this"? (grades, as we all know, can at times be a little arbitrary and subjective).
- Any research on learned dyslexia?
- Have our acceptance of dyslexia in a way gone too far? (to the point of accepting it and "giving up" on students?)
- Anyone with experience in this?