Category Archives: Dyslexic

The Sound of Reading: Austin Teen Creates Film for National Dyslexia Awareness Month

The visually impaired and dyslexic face many obstacles in life. The ability to acquire knowledge through the printed word, a skill that accomplished readers take for granted, stands out as a constant challenge.

Fortunately, the staff and volunteers of Learning Ally provide audio versions of textbooks and other printed materials to those with learning differences, giving them the opportunity to learn and be successful.

The Sound of Reading chronicles the educational challenges faced by the visually impaired and dyslexic and their journey to success as they discover and use the audiobooks provided by the Learning Ally (formerly known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic).

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

In celebration of National Dyslexia Awareness Month, October 2013, I want to share this movie with you. I filmed this movie earlier this year.

You face many challenges in life if you have dyslexia, like me, but there are many resources that can help you learn and be successful with the strengths that you have.

Featured blog posts about dyslexia

Learning Ally resources

Dyslexia resources around central Texas

My thanks to the wonderful students, parents, and Learning Ally staff and members who volunteered to be part of my film. Your time and help means a lot to me, and I hope The Sound of Reading will help show the challenges that dyslexic students face and how they can achieve success with audiobooks from Learning Ally.

Your friend,

1 Comment

Filed under assistive technology, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, Learning Ally, learning disabilities, National Dyslexia Awareness Month, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, The Sound of Reading

The 1 in 5 Initiative: Learning Ally Creates a Site for Dyslexics by Dyslexics

As I have shared with you in the past, I have very severe dyslexia, but luckily, I also have Learning Ally. For years now, I have used Learning Ally’s audiobooks, which has made it so much easier for me to keep up with my textbooks for school, as well as being able to listen to all sorts of books just for fun.

Learning Ally has a great website with lots of audiobooks and resources, so if you haven’t checked it out, be sure to soon. (The have a great iPhone and iPad app that I use to listen to my textbooks.) But now Learning Ally has even more to offer. They’ve started a new site called The 1 in 5 Initiative.

Their site is all about dyslexia. But it’s even more than that. It’s an interactive site where you can do all sorts of things like create blog posts as well as videos about yourself and your experiences with dyslexia. My “Commander Ben’s Dyslexia Story” video is also featured on their Being the one stories page.

Oh! I almost forgot…you may be wondering…Why do they call the site “1 in 5”? That’s because it is believed that 1 out every 5 people has some form of dyslexia.

So be sure to check out the 1 in 5 site soon. I think you’ll really like it.

Your friend,


Filed under Dyslexia, Dyslexic, iPad, iPhone, Learning Ally, Learning Ally app, The 1 in 5 Initiative

Learning Ally Features Student Adventurer Commander Ben

Commander Ben and Ms. Jenny Falke after talking with him about dyslexia for Learning Ally

Commander Ben and Ms. Jenny Falke after talking with him about dyslexia for Learning Ally

I want to share some great news with you! Today, Learning Ally featured a blog post and video about how I have worked with my dyslexia and used the wonderful selection of audio books available from Learning Ally as part of my education.

A few months ago, Ms. Jenny Falke, Senior Communications Associate with Learning Ally, asked if she could interview me for an article.  I told her that I would love to share my experiences about dyslexia and listening to novels and textbooks from Learning Ally during my elementary and middle school years.

Ms. Falke was a great interviewer! It was a wonderful night, and I was happy to tell my story so I could help other kids who have dyslexia.  Check out the Learning Ally blog, and watch a video there where I share my struggles with dyslexia and how I was able to keep up with my studies using audio books from Learning Ally.

If you have dyslexia, visit the Learning Ally site and learn more about their great audio books and learning resources for students (like me!) and other people with dyslexia.

Your friend,


Filed under Audio book, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, Learning Ally, Ms. Jenny Falke

Bow Wow Reading Dogs – Volunteering at Austin Dog Alliance

Working with a Bow Wow Reading Dog

Working with a Bow Wow Reading Dog in training

As I have shared with you on my About Page, I love dogs! And something I really enjoy doing is volunteering at Austin Dog Alliance. This is a great organization that offers training for dogs, including programs for dogs to become pet therapy dogs.

Austin Dog Alliance has a wonderful program called Special Dogs for Special Needs, where pet therapy dogs are trained to go on to become companions to special needs children.

Bow Wow Reading Dogs

This Bow Wow Reading Dog decided he wanted to try and sit in my lap!

This Bow Wow Reading Dog in training decided he wanted to try and sit in my lap!

The pet therapy program at Austin Dog Alliance that is nearest and dearest to my heart is called “Bow Wow Reading Dogs“. These are pet therapy dogs who are specially trained to go into schools and libraries to work with children who struggle to learn how to read.

You see, dogs love to be read to. They are also very loving and patient and don’t mind if you read slow or stumble on your words. They’re just happy to be with you and hear your voice. This can be incredibly comforting to the kid who struggles with reading. Trust me, as someone who struggles with dyslexia, I know how comforting a dog can be as a reading companion!

Bow Wow Reading Dog: Max

Max and Me at Austin Dog Alliance

Max and Me at Austin Dog Alliance

I’d like to introduce you to Max. Max is a Bow Wow Reading Dog and my friend. I first met Max when I attended K-9 Kids camp at Austin Dog Alliance, then I went on to work with Max to help train him to become used to being around kids for the Bow Wow Reading Dogs program. But Max was easy to work with because I think he was born being used to spending time with kids. He’s just a beautiful all around great dog!

My dog: Obi-Wan

Obi-Wan and Me

Obi-Wan and Me

I’d also like to introduce you to my dog, Obi-Wan. She’s not an official Bow Wow Reading Dog, but ever since she joined our family five years ago, she’s been my reading companion.

You may be wondering why Obi isn’t in the Bow Wow Reading Dogs program. Well, when Obi was a puppy she was found on the street and brought to a rescue group who put her up for adoption. She was just 11 weeks old and sick but I couldn’t resist adopting her, especially since our beloved Po, a cute Boston Terrier, had died and our family needed to fill the hole in our hearts. I have great parents who agreed. As my Mom always says, “Every boy needs a dog and a Mother who will let him have one.”

It turned out that Obi had parvovirus and was very sick. She had to take a lot of medicine and we had to keep her quarantined in our home for about 6 months until she recovered and could eventually receive her canine vaccines. She did recover and is a happy and healthy dog today.  Spoiled too! 🙂

Obi-Wan...Best Dog Ever!

Obi-Wan…Best Dog Ever!

But Obi can get a little nervous in loud rambunctious environments like a school, and her attention span is a bit short, not making her a great candidate for the Bow Wow Reading Dogs “official” program. But she is certainly in our “unofficial” reading program!

Tips for dyslexics: Practice reading to your dog

Reading to your dog is a great way for dyslexics to practice reading!

In this video, I’m reading parts of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to Obi, and you’ll notice that she wanders off from time to time. 😉 But I don’t mind in the least because she is “The Best Dog Ever!”

Learn more about Austin Dog Alliance

Austin Dog Alliance is an amazing organization and they are in the process of building a new expanded facility to train even more dogs in their Special Dogs for Special Needs program and related therapy dog programs. To learn more, to volunteer, or to donate to this worthwhile cause if you wish, be sure to check out their site by clicking on their logo below:


Your friend,


Filed under Austin Dog Alliance, Books, Bow Wow Reading Dogs, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, K-9 Kids, Parvovirus, Pet therapy, Reading, Reading therapy, Rescued dog, Shel Siverstein, Special Dogs for Special Needs, The Giving Tree

How Percy Jackson Made Dyslexia Cool

To celebrate the release of The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan’s latest book in his Heroes of Olympus series, I created this short video to give you a fun summary of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and the first books in his latest series.

I’m looking forward to listening to the audio version, and if you’re dyslexic, as part of my video, I also talk about how you can enjoy these books too, whether your mom reads them to you or whether Learning Ally reads them to you. 🙂 You can also listen to the audio CDs from your public library.

Percy Jackson is a dyslexic who has extraordinary powers, and in addition to being a demigod, he’s a really nice guy. He made me feel better about myself, because he’s a dyslexic who is also a hero!

One of the greatest Percy Jackson moments for me was when I told a friend recently that “I have dyslexia”, and she said, “Oh, like Percy Jackson!” Thanks to Percy Jackson and Rick Riordian, dyslexia became something really cool. Instead of the guy who had problems reading, you were a demigod. 🙂

Mark of Athena Book release party at BookPeople

Young Commander Ben and Mr. Rick Riordan at The Red Pyramid book signing at BookPeople

If you’re in Austin, Texas, be sure to stop by BookPeople on October 8, to be part of the parking lot celebration of Rick Riordan’s latest book, The Mark of Athena. You can enjoy the fun games and activities and pick up a signed copy of the book.

I’ve been to past book releases at Book People, and they’re a lot of fun! In the picture above, I picked up a Camp Half-Blood t-shirt at the The Red Pyramid book signing.

And during the release party of The Lost Hero, Mr. Riordan said that he would like to also write a book series with Norse Mythology, but at the time, he was busy writing his Greek/Roman and Egyptian series. If he starts writing the Norse series, it would be really cool to see how Odin, Thor, and Loki are portrayed. Will they be similar to what we’re used to, or will they be really different?

It’ll be fun to find out!

Update: Watch a video of the Mark of Athena event

Your friend,

1 Comment

Filed under Audio CDs, BookPeople, Camp Half-Blood, Demigod, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, Greek, Heroes of Olympus, Learning Ally, Library, Mythology, Norse, Percy Jackson, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Reading, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, Rick Riordan, Roman, The Lightning Thief, The Lost Hero, The Mark of Athena, The Red Pyramid