When Reading Hurts

My earliest school memory is from Starr King Elementary in Long Beach, California, when the classroom teacher and school librarian selected me to join the accelerated reading club. Our little group met weekly in an airy, sunny room full of books. We must have been smug little show-offs, elevated and admired just because reading came so easily, so naturally. We got to read aloud to the other kids in class, the ones who just couldn’t read as well, who just weren’t as smart.

Or so we thought.

Most people believe reading skill reflects intelligence — in essence, you read well if you’re smart, and if you struggle to read, your intelligence just doesn’t quite measure up.

The corollary is that the obviously smart person who struggles to read just isn’t trying hard enough.

Both beliefs are wrong.

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