Advocating a love of reading and dyslexia awareness

Advocating a love of reading and dyslexia awareness
CAYUGA—Ally Gibson, a Grade 4 student from Cayuga, is thrilled to see the new collection of decodable books at her local library, which will help people with dyslexia read easier. Gibson was diagnosed with dyslexia earlier this year and is on a mission to spread awareness as part of Dyslexia Awareness Month. The young advocate has raised over $1,000 to help fund grants for initiatives like the decodable books. —Haldimand Press photo by Sheila Phibbs.

By Sheila Phibbs

The Haldimand Press

CAYUGA—Ally Gibson was excited to visit the Cayuga Library with her mom on October 20, 2021 – the Grade 4 student was invited to see the new collection of decodable books geared specifically to children with dyslexia.

Ally has been an advocate for dyslexia awareness since she learned she had the condition in March of this year. She recalls, “I was quite confused when I found out I had dyslexia because I didn’t know what it was.”

Her mom, Karen, shares that Ally is not ashamed to tell anyone that she has dyslexia; Ally believes that people who have dyslexia shouldn’t be embarrassed. She states, “They just have something that’s different.”

Karen adds, “People should remember that people with dyslexia are super, super smart. They just have trouble learning to read.”

It is with that in mind that decodable books are written using knowledge of letter sounds and spelling patterns to “sound-out” words. Lindsay Thomas, Branch Coordinator at the Cayuga Library, explains that decodable books often work in steps, use larger print and spacing, and build on letter sounds and word recognition, which helps with reading and writing.

Thomas said, “These decodable books are endorsed by the Dyslexia Association as an excellent tool for beginning and emerging readers to become skilled readers.”

This is significant as studies indicate that 15% to 20% of the population have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words.

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and Ally has been taking part in Read October, a fundraiser of the International Dyslexia Association of Ontario (IDAO). Ally set a goal to read 30 books during the campaign and her one book a day challenge had raised more than $1,140 as of October 20. Ally likes reading story books and graphic novels, and especially enjoys the Baby-Sitters Club series.

Money raised through Read October helps support the IDAO grants program. The Haldimand County Public Library (HCPL) recently received a grant to purchase $500 worth of decodable books, which are available at all branches. The HCPL will apply for grants in years to follow to add to the decodable books collection.

Thomas extends appreciation to Ally for reaching out to the library to promote dyslexia awareness. She says, “We are looking forward to promoting Read October next year and involving Ally as a ‘Champion’.”

She adds, “It’s awesome to see someone who can be an advocate for dyslexia and loves to read.”

Ally was thrilled as she viewed the new collection of decodable books saying, “This is what I’ve been missing out on!”

To learn more about supporting dyslexia awareness visit:


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