Dislecksia: The Movie is an exuberantly didactic documentary, and director Harvey Hubbell has done his homework. Dyslexia, in which someone of normal intelligence has great difficulty learning to read, is now understood to have a neurological basis. This brain-wiring, as Hubbell explains, may just come with cognitive advantages that could explain the success of the likes of Albert Einstein and Richard Branson, two notable dyslexics. But kids with dyslexia who, like Hubbell, were in school in the 1960s, weren’t likely to be diagnosed with much more than a bad attitude. Hubbell features his own journey from happy child to discouraged near-dropout, and laces his presentation of research and pedagogical experiments with celebrity interviews and moments of whimsy. While emphasizing the successes many people with dyslexia have made of themselves, he doesn’t ignore the fates of those who give up in school and in life. “In school, if you have trouble reading and get frustrated and act out, you go to the principal’s office,” Hubbell says. “When you get out of school, you go to jail. A lot of dyslexics end up in prison.” He presents compelling research that has resulted in exciting literacy innovations; some methods don’t just help kids with dyslexia but also work for kids with all types of brain wiring. Dislecksia: The Movie is worth the attention of anyone involved in teaching a struggling child the indispensable skill of reading.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 2, 2013