:: dyslexia basics ::

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (aka decoding). Also called “reading disability,” dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.

People with dyslexia have normal to above average intelligence. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program.

Girl Reading

Dyslexia is NOT...

a problem of intelligence.

a problem of vision.

a problem of laziness.

Standing Person

Dyslexia IS...

a neurobiological issue that results in unexpected difficulty learning to read.

a lifelong condition. You don’t outgrow or cure it, but with proven, evidence-based reading instruction you can improve your ability to read.

the most common learning disability.

:: fast facts ::

Dyslexia by the Numbers


of people with poor reading skills are likely dyslexic.1

1 in 5

students has a language based learning disability.1


American adults are dyslexic—and only 2 million know it.2 


adults in the U.S. can’t read. 3


of U.S. adults read below a 5th grade level.3


of all 4th grade students are “below basic” reading skills.4 

Sources: 1 Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity; 2 Mayo Clinic; 
3 U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, April 2013
4 National Assessment of Educational Progress   

Dyslexia is a neurological issue, not a character flaw.

:: James Redford, Filmmaker ::

Most Common Related Learning Disabilities


An issue that involves difficulty with the physical act of writing. People may also find it hard to organize and express their thoughts and ideas in written form.


A learning disability in math. People with dyscalculia have trouble with math at many levels. They often struggle with key concepts like bigger vs. smaller. And they can have a hard time doing basic math problems and more abstract math.


ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) has three main symptoms: Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Most people with ADHD struggle in all three areas. But some mainly have trouble with attention, or focus. 

Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

Dr. Shelly Bayer is the Assistant Director for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at South Dakota State University where she works with faculty and graduate teaching assistants to create a culture of teaching excellence by promoting evidence-based strategies and encouraging professional and personal growth mindsets. Shelly earned her B.A. in English Education from South Dakota State University, her Masters of Education in Literacy (Certified Reading Specialist) from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and her doctorate in Education Administration – Adult & Higher Education through the University of South Dakota. Prior to her current employment, Shelly taught in public schools in Brookings, SD and Las Vegas, NV. Her educational background combined with her son’s identification as a dyslexic learner inspired her to work to create environments and systems that embrace the strengths of every learner and value each learner’s contributions to the process. Shelly joined the IDA-UMB Board of Directors in April 2018. She was elected as President in July 2021.