If you, your child, friend, family member or a student you are working with is Dyslexic you might have noticed that books or stories with chapters can be confusing or hard to comprehend and remember. Dyslexics think in the “big picture” or the whole story. In order to understand the chapters many Dyslexics need to know the beginning and end of the story before they read the middle of the book.
When we assess adults we ask them how they read a book. One gentleman said “You are going to think it’s silly. I do it wrong.” We encouraged him to tell us and wouldn’t think it was silly or wrong. He said, “I read the beginning, then go to the end which ruins any surprises in the story and then the middle. If I don’t do that, nothing makes sense and I tend to lose interest. Also if I don’t read the end first I forget the chapters I’m reading immediately, I keep forgetting where I’m at in the story and get bored!”
These Dyslexics are the people who watch a “who done-it” movie where the story starts with the end and they guess the rest of the story in the first half of the movie and tell you! I’m Dyslexic and still remember watching the movie “Sixth Sense”. I knew Bruce Willis’ character was a ghost in the first 10 minutes of the movie. I saw him being shot at the beginning of the movie and all the hints and details that followed gave away the plot because I knew the “big picture” or end of the movie first – he was shot and died.
Whoever the Dyslexics are in your life, if following a story is difficult for them encourage them to try reading the end before the middle and not resist their impulse to do the “wrong thing”. They will probably get more out of the story once they have the “big picture” and will not only remember the book better but tend to retain more detail than the average person.
Dyslexics in grade two to three start to read chapter books with the rest of the class. Often Dyslexic children fall behind because of their issues with spelling and reading but also with comprehension and memory of what happens in the chapters. With appropriate teaching methods for spelling and reading for Dyslexics along with trying reading the beginning and end chapter of story books first, these children can often catch up with their classmates or at least improve their ability to get through a book. They tend to do much better with book reports and other school work connected to the books due to their clearer memory and understanding of the story. Many of the students we work with start to enjoy reading chapter books rather than dreading and hating reading.
One of the benefits of reading the end after the beginning is how it can make studying more effective. Usually it is easier for Dyslexic students or employees learning new information to read the beginning of a chapter in a textbook or course, the end or summary and then go back to the beginning and read through the chapter. Highlighting key ideas and words and creating a mindmap of the chapter will round out this study method and help the Dyslexic student or employee comprehend and retain what they are reading.
Karen (Karey) Hope
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online