The current educational system does not recognize dyslexia, does not educate their teachers enough about the science of reading and thereby continues to miss the opportunity to re-mediate this issue early on in a child's life. Because people with this learning difference have average to above average intelligence, they KNOW they are not keeping up with their peers and generally feel ashamed of that --as early as preschool where they watch their friends catching on to the alphabet. This feeling of everyone knowing something they don't, gets imbedded into their way of thinking and if not remedied early in their school careers, can lead to devastating results.
Schools are unintentionally teaching kids to hide their inability to read or spell well, causing them to learn stealth-like methods of coping to survive the school day. The processing of language comes at a much slower pace than learning how to copy a neighbor's paper, listen closely to class discussions to answer questions; cajoling others into doing papers; being so charming that people want to help or see them pass; being loud; a class clown; avoidance tactics; or causing a distraction to alter the course the teacher is about to take so they don't have to read aloud or write in front of their peers. Even larger consequences happen....some kids stop trying, quit school, and too many go on to lead lives of crime or blight. Perhaps the greatest consequence is the reduction or extinguishing of the joy in simply being a thinker about things read or expression of ones knowledge and thoughts. These kids without access to print, don't get their ideas out often enough to grow as much from their experiences or feel joy often enough to continue to push themselves to express their ideas or gain more knowledge thru print.
Kids use these coping strategies as a form of self-preservation due to the shame they feel with not being able to break the code or by the fear of being "found out" by their peers. This causes ones' emotional state to be in a flight or fight mode. Children grow into adults who often continue to feel ashamed of their skills and practice these same strategies in their working lives. One of the greatest human tragedies is to go through school feeling ashamed of oneself; to never discover or uncover your talents; to never believe in yourself enough to strengthen your talents; to fall short of your potential because you didn't believe you could just because you don't read or read as well as others. Every human being needs a champion in their life, someone who is willing to help uncover their strengths and make you feel good about yourself, who teaches you how to overcome your weaknesses and bring out the best in you.
I try to imagine what the world will be like when we stop all this nonsense, allow all kids to think, feel good about themselves and intervene with the right remediation programs at early ages. Lasater's novel has left me feeling even more passionate about this quest I am on with Decoding Dyslexia to make large scale changes in this country. Thank you for writing a novel that will resonate with all kinds of learners; one that will allow them to connect with the feelings that can lead to making a positive difference.