Do you want to see what a dyslexic kindergartener sees? Study this image, below, and get an idea of the problem your son or daughter might have in learning to read:
There was a time in public schools when the teaching of reading didn’t begin until the first grade when the child was considered by experts to be “reading ready.” This is no longer the case. In the enlightened age of universal kindergarten, and even nursery school, the teaching of reading has shifted from the six / seven year old to the four / five year old.
In my novel Life On a Chessboard, I follow the troubled life of Steven Hanson, a dyslexic eighth grade boy who is labeled a ‘retard,’ and faces daily bullying by the popular class president, Brad Murphy. Steven yearns to strike back, but is suspended when he threatens Brad with an X-acto knife.
Suspended for a week, Steven bicycles to the Redondo Beach pier and watches Stoner, a grizzled veteran and chess master take apart several players. Attracted to the game, Steven is challenged by Stoner. If he wants to be a successful player, he learns he must study the game and the life-lessons it teaches.
The story follows Steven’s many challenges: learning more about his mother who died when he was a baby; the difficult relationship he has with his father; reading and understanding the novel Red Badge of Courage; making friends with Melissa, an unusual eighth grader; understanding his reading deficiencies and accepting his teacher’s help; learning patience and cooperation as important lessons in life.
To read the first three chapters of “Life On a Chessboard,” see the series in the coop blog, Eight Great Storytellers (“Curl up with a Good Writer”).
Image from imgur.com