The gift of dyslexia

Ronald D. Davis

Penguin group


ISBN 9780399535666

RRP $22.00

Date of publication February 2010

Reviewer Neville Sandon

It’s not hard to be enthusiastic about RONALD DAVIS’ book.  This book is worth reading from cover to cover and I would encourage all parents to purchase, read and mark up your copy. We are often told what kids can’t do with dyslexia without knowing what they can do. It is into the “can do” bucket this book falls. The book is informative and helps you in your understanding especially when it is written by a dyslexic. Don’t read the book if don’t want your thoughts provoked – whether parents, teachers or those in counselling services . The book is not without its critics and their serious concerns. It needs to be said that there are a number of management strategies for “Dyslexia”.

Don’t fall into the trap of “”cherry-picking” your way in and out of this book. Some may impatiently want to go Section 4 straight up and do something “practical”. This deserves a few nights of reflective reading and conversation with follow up with an appropriate competent person. The book contains many “Aha’s!” for a serious reflective read for you and you don’t have to be a dyslexic or have someone in the family who is wrestling with learning difficulties.  Sections 1 to 3 helps us all to get our head around what constitutes “learning” and “thinking” and the way we engage in it.

“Dyslexia” can become the flavor of the month for attributing a title for out of the “ordinary” behaviour and yet fail to come to grips with the real issues.  The term “Dyslexia” has had a rough trot in arriving at a precise definition and so too has the growing number of “experts” to advise, counsel, direct, warn etc.  “Dyslexia” was a term first used to describe various learning difficulties. However over the progress of research “dyslexia” is found not to be the result of brain damage, or nerve damage, nor is it caused by a malformation of the brain, inner ear or eyeballs. So what is this thing called “Dyslexia”?

The reviewer found this book of value when simply contrasting two ways of thinking or conceptualising. And into this paradigm the book yields its greatest value.  Thinking with the sound words and thinking with mental pictures of ideas or concepts are two distinctly different ways of thinking. So much more could and should be said/ written on this distinction for reading, writing and communicating or articulating.  For to be told that you must say, then hear a word then verbalise a word in order to read, write and understand excludes a considerable number of candidates. For if true, then no profoundly pre-lingually deaf person could read or write and so on it goes for those labelled “dyslexic”.

Teacher and dyslexic Ronald Davis wrote The Gift of Dyslexia in 1997 and the book has undergone a number of reprints. Here is a book that gives you something of a landscape of the issues and a true reflection of his experience as a dyslexic as well as an educator.  Interestingly Davis was an Engineer and functionally illiterate until 38 years old when he discovered how to mentally orient his perceptions. He later took technical courses and became a successful engineer, businessman and artist. He has since dedicated his life to helping people with the gift of dyslexia achieve literacy and self-esteem.

This book outlines a unique program with a phenomenally high success rate in helping dyslexics learn to read and to overcome other difficulties associated with it. This new edition is expanded to include new teaching techniques and revised throughout with up-to-date information on research, studies, and contacts.

Use the book as a springboard – dive in and understand the dimensions of the pool.



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