“If I don’t, I will be nothing but skin and groans.”
“You mean skin and bones,” Sophie said.
“I know it is bones,” the BFG said. “But please understand that I cannot be helping it if I sometimes is saying things a little squiggly. I is trying my very best all the time.” ~ The BFG, Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s the BFG is on the big screen now, but did you know Dahl has a history connecting him to the dyslexia community? There are some reports that Dahl, himself may have even had dyslexia. However, what we do know for sure is that shortly before his death in 1990, Dahl wrote a book titled The Vicar of Nibbleswicke with all proceeds going to the Dyslexia Institute. The story is about a man who has a “rare condition called back to front dyslexia.”
As a parent of two children who have dyslexia, I also found many connections while reading Dahl’s The BFG aloud to my kids. I wanted them to know the story before we saw the movie. I never read this book as a child, but it delighted me even as an adult! Even more – I love the references to mixed-up words and the love Sophie shows to her new friend.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. As such, it often affects so much more than reading. Word retrieval, which is what is shown in much of the BFG, can often be an issue for students and adults who have dyslexia.
“Words,” he said, “is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.”
The BFG did know what he wanted to say, and he asked for patience. Sophie, however, does more for her friend:
“I think you speak beautifully,” Sophie said.
“You do?” cried the BFG, suddenly brightening. “You really do?”
“Simply beautifully,” Sophie repeated.
“Well, that is the nicest present anybody is ever giving me in my whole life!” cried the BFG.
Check out the BFG in theaters, and make sure to also read the book on Learning Ally. We’re here to support students who have print disabilities, like dyslexia or blindness.
If you haven’t already signed up, join in our Summer Reading Together to find a network of support for ear-reading (audibooks) all summer long! #SRT16
About the author: Julya Johnson is the social media communications leader at Learning Ally, and the parent to two children who have dyslexia. In 2013, she co-founded Decoding Dyslexia-TN. She’s also a graduate of Ron Yoshimoto’s OG International program, and a member of the Tennessee Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
– Jules Johnson
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