Ask Reading Kingdom:My school has done testing and has told us that our daughter is dyslexic. Do I still need to get a professional diagnosis of dyslexia?

This is a very important question that often does not receive the analysis that it merits.

Currently, because of the enormously high reading failure rate in the United States, we are being told, even by highly respected professionals, that up to 20%-30% of the population is dyslexic.  Dyslexia is a brain disorder. In the absence of extreme environmental conditions (e.g., no iodine in the water supply so that masses of people have thyroid problems), there is no known medical disorder that occurs at the rate being proposed for dyslexia.  A disorder of 1 to 2% is considered to be a serious medical problem. So the current widespread diagnosis of dyslexia is highly questionable.

It becomes even more questionable when we look at countries such as Spain, Italy and France where the percentage of the population identified as dyslexic is tiny in comparison to the US. In those countries, words and letters have much simpler relationships than in English. In Italian, for example, it takes only a short time to learn how to accurately read (decode) any word you see. There are none of the hundreds of complex rules that are taught to English speaking children because this is seen as the only way to have them sound out words.

The reading problems in our nation are not the result of huge percentages of our children having a brain disorder that results in dyslexia.  Instead, they are likely the result of our approach to reading instruction which is unsuitable for English.  We need an alternative. That’s why we created the  Reading Kingdom. It uses the information gained from decades of research on the English language to create a system for teaching reading that is clear, simple and successful.