The Gift of Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia

Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn (Revised and Expanded)

By: Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M.Braun

First published in 1994, Ron Davis’ The Gift of Dyslexia became an immediate best-seller and changed the face of how dyslexia is viewed – and how it can be remedied – worldwide. The third revised and expanded edition published in 2010 contains added information to help with the mental techniques for orientation and attention focus that are the hallmark of the Davis program.



Publication Data

Perigee Books 2010
Book Finder: ISBN: 978-0399535666

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  • Susan T

    I’m a special education elementary (Grades 2-5) reading instructor in the United States (Connecticut). I typically use the Orton Gillingham approach with programs like Wilson and SPIRE with my students who have reading disabilities/dyslexia with good success. However, I’m working with a student who has not benefitted from either of these programs nor the sight word based program EdMark. A parent of one of my students gave me “The Gift of Dyslexia” years ago and I’m planning on reading it again this summer. I would love to attend one of your trainings, but this is not financially possible for myself or the public school I work for. What other affordable resources can I find to learn how to apply the Davis Program with my students?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      As a start, make sure that the book you are re-reading is the 2010 version pictured on this page (blue cover). There were two previous editions and the newest version has quite a lot of practical information that was not contained in the previous versions. (For example, explanations of Davis tools such as alignment and dial-setting).

      From there, ask your school if they can fund the purchase of a single Davis Orientation & Symbol Mastery Kit – see for the kit description. You only need one, because you want the information that comes with the kit in the manual and instructional videos. You may need some extra materials if you later work with additional students — for example, more clay, and you might want extra items like alphabet strips. But these can be purchased separately as needed later on. The kit will come with an order form you can use if you need extras of any of the kit parts.

      For more help and guidance, check our website at — and if you are on Facebook, you can join our the Davis method support group at

  • Vincent R

    I’m 65 years old I can remember how I was treated growing up. In school, home, and growing up was at times hell. I was padded at school whipped and punished at home. teased a lot. cuz some things I just didn’t understand. I would write backwards upside down. they even sent a psychiatrist over to the school to evaluate me that was in the 3rd grade. I was put back on the 4th grade. The worse filling, alot of kids Teased me. I wascall stupid some teachers were really nice. I started fighting alot and drinking at 8 years old. In high school was a little betterin some classes would get better grades but not enough to graduate. So still called stupid by my parents. And lots of people. A worker at my Job told me that I was dyslexic. because of order forms I filled out he told me that I was writing some of the numbers backwards and some of the letters 2. I never knew that what’s going on with my head. I to this day never knew thatadults had the same problem that I did I guess now they call it A DST. I might try to get a book are cd. When I get paid. Thanks for the information. It took 65 years to find this out.

    • Erin

      It breaks my heart that you were treated so unkindly because of your gift. We recently discovered my 8 year old son has dyslexia. He was bullied in Kindergarten and we decided to homeschool after that. My son struggles with thinking he is stupid but I try to remind him that he has super strengths that others don’t have and we just have to figure out the right tools and strategies that will help him thrive. He seemed comforted to know that other people face the same types of challenges and he is not alone. I hope that going forward, you will recognize how valuable your life and gifts are to the world.

  • Gina S

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a 64 year old Dyslexic female.
    During the 1960s while I was in grammar school, no one understood the problem. I was considered a very slow learner/ reader. I could not read fluently until approx. the 6th grade.
    I had little to no supervision which allowed me to develop other skills such as art, clowning and eventually incredible penmanship.
    My teachers mistreated me some years.
    In the 6th grade I had a special (male) teacher who recognized my ability to grasp geometry and spatial awareness. A light went off.

    By highschool I developed talents in art, drafting and mechanical drawing and creativity in many areas but I was permanently damaged by my early school experiences.

    I left school and home my junior year of high school, but easily made a living independently making jewelry.

    In my early 20s I went to work in landscaping and became a designer with a year.

    Whenever I tried to go back to school I would cry all the way home, but took enough classes to fill in some gaps.

    I now have a successful career of 40 years and am very technology savvy, easily competing with masters level landscape architects (in residential design).

    So my point is, give your dyslexic child enough freedom to follow their possible talents, and enough guidance to have a positive school experience. Protect them from ruthless teachers if needed.
    A diagnosis these days usually takes care of getting the support.
    There are so many intelligent, and successful people with dyslexia.


    • Glady

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m 66 years old, and my teacher in the sixth grade also helpEd me with this. She saw that I was good in math and I had good grades on math. When I went to college in my thirties, I took nine test with a doctor and he Also told me that I had a good memory and sustaining all the math Problems.
      While I was in college I use lots of color pens or color pencils. That helped me a lot with my other classes.
      I’m going to read book to see what I did right all my life.

      Thank you again.

  • Audra

    My son is 12 and school have just informed me by letter today he is showing signs of dyslexia.This has never been mentioned to me before eg.parents nights so why has it taken so long and just before he starts high school.He went to a speach therapist for 3 years from nearly 3 years old and dyspraxia was mentioned then… this linked?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Yes, the early problems with speech and dyspraxia could be tied to the signs of dyslexia your son is now exhibiting.

      Sometimes dyslexia first becomes apparent later when school demands and expectations are increased. So it may be that your son reads well enough to manage the material he was given in the lower grades — but is running into trouble because the reading assignments are more difficult and students are expected to produce more written work.

      • Gideon

        Good day sir/ma,
        My daughter has a similar problem like the ones said above. She lacks concentration, can not copy words from board, but strives when you puts down the letters one at a time, had to talk in class or joining others doing class work,can not speak fluently as at her age of 5years plus,please I need a help.

        • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

          Gideon, the book will give you information that may help you better understand your daughter’s needs and how to help her. The program that is described in the book is geared to older children (age 8 and over) — but you can introduce a younger child to all the technique if you take a more slow and gentle approach. When working with a younger child it is important to create a relaxed and playful environment to allow the child to experience success as part of the learning process.

    • Gretch

      My son is now 10 year old, he just learned to tie his shoe laces last year at 9 and sometimes just goes without tying the laces, he writes like a 6 y.o. and his attention span is short. He has trouble with letters, writes words like “theSe, cooKed, WaShing uP, eaSy, oF, aPPreciate, haS, ProVided, leaSt, Your, WardS”. Teachers writes in cursive at school and for him it all looked like hoops and refuses to write anymore. No matter how hard i try to teach and correct him, he just doesnt follow, he cant spell words well, copies letter by letter when he writes and he doesnt put space in between words. Its just frustrating coz we live in one of the small islands of the philippines and we cant support a treatment or special education for him, not to mention we dont have dyslexia center in iloilo. I once watched the movie “like stars on earth” and it got me into tears coz my son is in a pretty close case as the boy on the movie, i reviewed his hand writting and the symptoms online to know he is one. The classrooms in our province is made of 40 children per teacher, and theres no way 1 teacher can give him all the attention he needs. I talked to his teachers and they all similarly said my son wont write no matter how they try to convince him, dont answer tests and reads slowly, and always gets zero on exams. He gets teased for this and becomes aggressive at school, it doesnt help when my husband cant understand our sons “dumbness,laziness” at school, i know it breaks our son slowly and its heart breaking painful for me too. I just pity him so much and love him so much but cant afford a special school for him. What can i do to help on his situation. Please help.

      • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

        Gretch, I would encourage you to buy the book — it has very specific instructions on how to get started with the key Davis tools at home.
        We have additional support materials that you can buy as well, but because of high shipping costs, I think that it’s best when you are in a remote area to start with the book alone. That will give you a good sense of whether the Davis approach is right for you, and whether you feel comfortable with working with your own child.

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