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opening question
phillip schultz
brian grazer
carol greider

They are all dyslexic. Are you?


Aidan_Colvin1Did you know that a lot of kids have trouble learning to read?

I had trouble. I didn’t understand why. I just thought I wasn’t smart. That’s how I felt before my parents had me tested.

See, many people who have a hard time learning how to read have something called dyslexia. Dyslexia is simply a difference in the way your brain hears sounds and then attaches these sounds to letters. Just like some kids need glasses in order to see the bricks on a wall, some kids need special teaching in order to hear the sounds that make up a word. And then translate those sounds into letters that make words.

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Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft
Arctic Explorer
First woman to reach the North and South Poles by foot and dogsled, and the first woman to ski across Greenland

Tools and Techniques
1) As a child, she relied on the help of tutors and family
2) When she struggled in high school, she switched schools.
3) When her grades dipped and her advisor suggested she drop her extracurricular activities to study more, she refused. “This kept me alive and was where I excelled.
4) Persistance

Her Story

ann bancroft arctic explorer

In 1986, 31-year-old Ann Bancroft became the first woman ever to travel over 1000 miles across Canada’s Northwest territories to reach the North Pole. For 56 days, she traveled with five other men on foot and by dogsled in temperatures averaging thirty degrees below zero. She loved it. She loved it so much that seven years later, over the course of 67 days, she led the first all-female expedition to the South Pole on skis. In 2001, Ann and Norwegian adventurer Liv Arnesen became the first women to ski across Antarctica. All together, she was the first woman to reach both the north and south poles, and ski across Greenland.

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Phillip Schultz

Phillip Schultz
Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet
Written My Dyslexia (memoir), Failure (poetry), Living in the Past (poetry), Deep Within the Ravine (poetry)

Tools and Techniques
1) When I did learn to read at 11, my teachers didn’t have much to do with it. My mother would read the only thing I would listen to — Blackhawk Comics. I’d lie in bed silently imitating the words my mother read, imagining the taste, heft and ring of each sound as if it were coming out of my mouth. I imagined being able to sound out the words by putting the letters together into units of rhythmic sound and the words into sentences that made sense. I imagined the words and their sounds being a kind of key with which I would open an invisible door to a world previously denied me. And suddenly I was reading.
2) I have to memorize and rehearse before reading anything aloud, to avoid embarrassing myself by mispronouncing words.
3) It’s very important for you now (as an adult) to try to change, and alter, how you saw yourself then (as a child with reading problems), if you don’t naturally have sympathy for what you felt and what you were going through … It would be awfully important now to create and find that sympathy. Because that can really … make a large difference. You’re not who you were, or who you felt you were or feared you were. And … I don’t think I came to that before I wrote this book — I know I didn’t. I don’t know if I’m there completely yet, but it has made a difference. I’m more forgiving of myself.

To hear an interview with Phillip Schultz and read an excerpt from his book, visit:

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Brian Grazer

Brian Grazer
Oscar Award-winning Producer of both movies and television
Produced A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and The Grinch, as well as Arrested Development, Parenthood and other shows

Tools and Techniques
1) All you need is one great champion and that was my grandmother. She would say, ‘Think Big.’ I was trying to integrate that into my sense of self worth.
2) In high school and college, I had to be resourceful. I sometimes challenged the professor on my grades. At times they would give me an upgrade.
3) Achieving some big successes in swimming empowered me to try other things.
4) In college I finally learned how to study. I’m a good synthesizer. I see the big picture.

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Carol Greider

Carol Greider, PhD
Molecular Biologist, The Greider Lab ( at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Winner, Nobel Prize in Medicine (2009)

Tools and Techniques
1) As a child, I would memorize words and how they were spelled rather than try to sound them out
2) I would “just put my blinders on and move forward and do what I had to do.”
3) “(As a scientist), One has to intuit many different things that are going on at the same time and apply those to a particular problem — to not just concentrate on one of them, but to bring many in laterally. Perhaps my ability to pull more information out of context and to put together different ideas may have been affected by what I learned to do from dyslexia.”€
4) I had a good mentor.

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Matthew Schneps

Matthew Schneps, PhD
Founder and Director, Laboratory for Visual Learning: A Universe Without Limits (
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)

Tools and Techniques
1) When reading on iPod, magnify the words so that there are only two to three words per line (
2) Dragon Dictate
3) Mindmapping – Mindjet, Inspiration and Mindmapper are all apps that work well on the iPod
4) Evernote and Drafts – these are more sophisticated tools, but very helpful. They allow me to quickly capture ideas before the spark is forgotten.
5) I also use interactive math software such as “Mathworks.”

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