By Doug Sprei, National Director of Communications
Since The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia
premiered on HBO
in October 2012, the film's impact continues to spread across the nation. Parents, educators, and community groups are joining forces like never before to make their voices heard and bring vital support to children and their families.
Watch the video above to listen to Learning Ally's dialogue with Kyle Redford,
who offers an insider's view into the making of the film and its remarkable influence in sparking changes and progress over the past year. As a long-time educator and mother of a dyslexic child, and as the wife and creative partner of film director James Redford, Kyle has unique experience and insights to share. She is a teacher in northern California, serves as Education Editor for the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
(YCDC) and is an Advisory Board Member for World Savvy. Her articles regularly appear in Huffington Post
, Education Week Teacher
, and on the YCDC website.
We received many questions from the audience throughout our lively discussion with Kyle; her answers follow below.
How can my daughter and I see this film? We both need the encouragement, but we live in a small town in Wyoming. Do libraries have access?
The film will be available on Netflix. It's up to individual libraries whether to purchase the film, so if your local library doesn't own a copy, you may want to try requesting it.
You mentioned how exhausting it is for parents. How did you avoid burnout?
Pacing is key. Having the confidence to resist feeling like you have to “fix” your child overnight is so important. Laughing with your child, playing with your child, and exploring joyful pastimes with your child are great ways to let off steam. Academics are not the only measure of a child’s value. In general, my son was very disharmonious in the early years after he came home from school. I remember that getting outdoors and being in nature was very important to him (and to me).
Additionally, I had the advantage of experience. I had taught history and English to very capable dyslexic students in older grades. They had horrible spelling and yet were very capable when it came to understanding the content. I knew that as students get older, the academic priorities change. Teachers don’t dwell on the mechanics , particularly if they know the student is dyslexic. My dyslexic students did well in my class despite spelling the same word three different ways in one essay.
Will a follow-up documentary be made in a few years to cover changes, etc.?
Interesting idea-- there was so much that wasn't covered in the first 52 minute film.
How can we support our kids at home who are so very resistant to reading independently, if at all?
The research shows that reading volume is a significant factor in academic achievement. You are right to take it seriously. However, the good news is, there are many different ways to read. You should definitely try audio books in many different forms until you find the right fit. Bedtime? In the car? On an iPod or similar device with earphones?
The best way to build a reading culture in your home is to invite everyone in the family, and most importantly, model reading as adults. Take books with you to appointments. Always have them in your car. Go to the library. Window shop book stores. Talk about favorite authors. Give books as gifts. Read out loud to your child. Play audio books in the car. Children are much more likely to read in families where the parents read. Here is an article
that I wrote about building a word-rich life for dyslexics that you may find helpful.
Additionally, many adults push students to read out of their comfort zone. Allow your children to read what they want. This is not the time to be a book snob. Reading breeds reading. Comic books, graphic novels, short stories, magazine articles about their passions, etc. are all ways to build interest in reading. If kids are always reading out of their level or interest range, they are never finishing stories and that is no fun. To get you child interested in reading, start small. Let the child build confidence with reading. They will advance to harder stuff when they are ready. Here is an article
on the subject and a reading list that might be a good place to start.
How can I request the “The Big Picture, Rethinking Dyslexia” movie be shown in my city or in a public school?
The individuals who have had the most success have gone through parent groups, purchased the film for the school, and made it really easy for the school to show it by making all the arrangements.
This is just our first event to honor October Dyslexia Awareness Month. See more of what we have planned as The Big Picture is coming to a city near you (or someone you know) for The Big Picture Roadshow.