For students: Dyslexia survival guide

Are you dyslexic or think you might be? Don’t panic! You’ll find information here to help you survive and thrive at school:

  1. What is dyslexia?
  2. Advice from amazing dyslexics
  3. Get help
  4. Fun stuff
  5. Video, books, websites

1. What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia makes it difficult — but NOT IMPOSSIBLE — to learn to read, write and spell. Dyslexia affects everyone differently, but everyone with dyslexia can learn to read and write!

The word “dyslexia” comes from the Latin words “dys” (meaning difficulty) and “lexia” (meaning language, or words).

There are lots of people with dyslexia in the world. In fact, there are more than 2 students in every Ontario classroom with dyslexia. Dyslexia often runs in families, meaning that you may have inherited it from your mom or dad.

Dyslexia has nothing to do with how smart you are. In fact, some of the smartest and most creative people in the world are dyslexic. Coincidence? We think not!

School isn’t always easy for kids with dyslexia, but with help, everyone with dyslexia has the ability to learn, work hard and dream big!

Video: See dyslexia differently

Video: British Dyslexia Association: See dyslexia differently

Video: Things not to say to someone with dyslexia

2. Advice from amazing dyslexics

Words of wisdom from people with dyslexia

“It is more common than you can imagine. You are not alone. And while you will have this the rest of your life, you can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go and it will not hold you back.

Steven Spielberg, award-winning director (source: Friends of Quinn)

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that because you struggle with dyslexia that you’re never going to make it in life, because it’s simply not true.“ Orlando Bloom, actor

Orlando Bloom, actor

“I will never give up on myself again just because I was told that I was not capable. All I need are the proper tools, opportunities and support to meet my educational goals.”

Vikki Pike, Ontario student-advocate

“Dyslexia is not a pigeonhole to say you can’t do anything. It is an opportunity and a possibility to learn differently. You have magical brains, they just process differently. Don’t feel like you should be held back by it.” 

Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice

Find what love, find what you enjoy and pursue it. Work hard, eat well and fall in love with everything.” Piper Otterbein, Designer

Piper Otterbein, Designer

“I didn’t succeed despite my dyslexia, but because of it. It wasn’t my deficit, but my advantage. Although there are neurological trade-offs that require that I work creatively [and] smarter in reading, writing and speaking, I would never wish to be any other way than my awesome self. I love being me, regardless of the early challenges I had faced.”

Scott Sonnon, martial arts world champion and author

“It’s important to define success in your own terms.”

Ontario teen-advocate

“I don’t want somebody to feel useless because of dyslexia…I want kids to get diagnosed and have access to support while they are still in school.”

Brent Sopel, Canadian NHL defenseman

“If there is one thing I have learnt is the ability to persevere.”

Ontario student

Sports and early detection of dyslexia helped me develop as a person and get through school.”

Taylor Reid, pro athlete and dyslexia advocate

“Look what can happen when we realize that the very things we think are holding us back instead turn out to be the key to the worlds we could never have imagined.”

Aidan Colvin, author of Looking for heroes

Meet everyday heroes from Ontario

3. Need help? Get help!

Are you struggling to learn to read or feeling like you can’t keep up at school? You can:

4. Fun stuff!

📚 Read the “backwards poem”: Written by a 10-year-old from England, this poem went viral when it was shared by the student’s teacher on social media. Read it from top to bottom, and then bottom to top. Try writing your own backwards poem!

🎦 Watch The SuperD! Show for 7-12 year-olds who learn differently. Subscribe for free access to all episodes:

🖥️ Check out the world’s hardest to read website:

✍🏿 Make your own comic book. Dav Pilkey, dyslexic author of the world-famous Captain Underpants and Dog Man series, shows you how to make your own comic book:

🖼️ Visit our amazing dyslexic portrait gallery. If you’re dyslexic, you’re in good company. Some of the world’s greatest artists, writers, innovators and scientists, entrepreneurs are dyslexic. But you don’t have to be famous to be amazing. Many people with dyslexia, famous and not so famous, are doing amazing things.

5. Resources

Check with your local library or school library to find these books.


Non-fiction books



Audiobook providers

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