Famous Dyslexics: Writer and Producer Stephen J. Cannell

Stephen J. Cannell founded The Cannell Studios in Hollywood, which produced nearly 40 television series over the last four decades, including the popular A-Team and 21 Jump Street.

And he had dyslexia.

Stephen_J_Cannell

Cannell struggled in school from an early age. He described himself as “the stupidest kid in class”. He was long scarred by his academic life, and explained how as a child he turned to writing fiction in order to escape the feeling of failure in the classroom.

In an interview, he said: “I was the only kid in my first-grade class who couldn’t read. But [now] I can write a novel in three months.”

He flunked three grades due his undiagnosed dyslexia, and he was told to forget about his dreams of becoming a creative writer. In his high school yearbook, he put “author” as his career ambition, despite all the naysayers.

He persevered with his writing and found he had a real talent for script-writing. He became employed as a scriptwriter at the bottom of the ladder, and climbed his way to the top over the first few years of his Hollywood career. Eventually he set up his own production studio, and was the creative head behind many television hits in the 80s and 90s.

In a 1999 Newsweek interview, he said: “The real fear that I have for dyslexic people is not that they have to struggle with jumbled input or that they can’t spell, but that they will quit on themselves before they get out of school. Parents have to create victories whenever they can, whether it’s music, sports or art. You want your dyslexic child to be able to say: ‘Yeah, reading’s hard. But I have these other things that I can do.’ ”

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DSCN0462Sarah Forrest is a Literacy Specialist for the Easyread System, an online course for children with reading difficulties, dyslexia, auditory processing problems and more. Get a free 10-day trial at www.easyreadsystem.com

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HUGE improvement in reading and writing

Firstly I have to say that we have seen a HUGE improvement in Lauren’s feelings towards writing – she is now writing a diary, and last week wrote out a recipe as we were making cottage pie. She wanted to take it to the childminder so that she could make it! she is also reading cookery books , any reading is good reading right?!

I am not seeing guessing, and she is reading fluently, I think this must be translating to her schoolwork too as she no longer works with the teaching assistant as regularly.
All in all I am SO pleased that I found easyread, even if we don’t do it every day because of our swimming and work commitments there are never any complaints about doing it (other than she always wants the game to be a joke and not letter quest ;-) )

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Dyslexic Secondary Schoolers’ Poems on Dyslexia

When dyslexic secondary school children at the Moon Hall School were assigned writing poems as homework, you can imagine what their first thoughts might be: me? Poetry? No way. I can tell you how I feel, but don’t make me write it!

But what they came up with was remarkable. Vivid imagery – at times heartbreaking – poured out of these students’ pens. They wrote beautifully about the emotional difficulty, the panic, the disappointment, that their literacy difficulties have caused them over the years. Some of these poems brought parents and teachers to tears upon reading them.

Take a look at a few excerpts here: http://www.dorkingandleatherheadadvertiser.co.uk/Pen-paper-mock-Leigh-students-poems-battle/story-24246166-detail/story.html

DSCN0462Sarah Forrest is a Literacy Specialist for the Easyread System, an online program for children with reading difficulties, dyslexia, and more. Get a free 10-day trial at www.oxfordlearningsolutions.com

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She can read!

Hannah’s reading is definitely improving still, and I would say ‘she can read’. She is more and more confident, and is now reading chapter books with much less trepidation. It is still effort for her, but I would say that there is a marked difference that has happened over the past few weeks.

So, Hannah is now reading ‘Journey to the River Sea’ for school, which is fabulous (we had read it before, with her dad reading to her, but she is now reading it herself). And she is feeling comfortable with it. But she had to write a book report on it. Which she really struggled with, both the physical act of writing that much, and also the spelling. No problems whatsoever with narrative and characters. A bit disorganised in terms of structure and reference, but I was pretty impressed. She also seems to be getting the Ungar narrative very easily.(better than me … I have to get her to explain it to me :-) . (I might get her to write a synopsis of the story, as practice for writing …)

So basically she is still enjoying Easyread a great deal, and I think still continuing to make progress.

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Famous Dyslexics: Actor Anthony Andrews

British award-winning actor Anthony Andrews is perhaps best known for playing Lord Sebastian Flyte in Bridehead’s Revisited. He more recently played a cameo role in The King’s Speech.

Anthony_Andrews_Allan_WarrenAnd he has dyslexia.

As a child, he struggled to read very early on in school. After years of reading difficulty, one of his teachers (named Mr Quibble-Smith!) had the idea to cast Andrews in the school play, to give him confidence in reading aloud. It turned out he was also responsible for planting in Andrews a lifelong passion for acting.

He has always struggled with reading scripts as a part of his professional career.

He says: “Whenever I turn to a page my eyes still automatically go to the middle and that is a hangover from school days when I was so terrified I just wanted to get to the end of the text… It’s been a painful process and a struggle over the years for me to unjumble words and learn to read. I still find reading a slog, my spelling is atrocious and I often write down telephone numbers wrongly.”

Perhaps we should sign him up for Easyread!

DSCN0462Sarah Forrest is a Literacy Specialist for the Easyread System, an online course specially designed for children with dyslexia, reading difficulties, auditory processing issues, and more. Get a free 10-day trial at www.easyreadsystem.com

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Integrated Kindergarten and Senior Centers a Big Hit

It sounds like something more at home in a dream than reality.

Pre-K and Kindergarten classes sharing a building with a nursing home? The Grace Living Center in Tulsa is just that. 60 schoolchildren walk down the halls with 170 elders, called Grandpas and Grandmas. And the benefits freely flow both ways.

Credit: Darren Parker

For the elderly, having children bobbing up and down around them is pure joy.

“You’re sitting there eating [ice cream] and a kid you worked with in the morning will come up and ask, ‘What kind are you having, Grandpa Charlie?’ and it almost tears your heart out,” he says, choking up, “that they would remember me.”

The children get extra literacy practice by regularly reading to their “Grandpa”, and as a result their literacy outcomes are higher than average. The two populations occasionally have other shared activities like crafting to bring them together.

To read more about this, read the full article here. But be warned that it may well bring a tear to your eyes!

DSCN0462Sarah Forrest is a Literacy Specialist for the Easyread System, an online course for children with reading difficulties, dyslexia, and more. Get a free 10-day trial at www.easyreadsystem.com

 

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