When I was young, I was a voracious reader of Peanuts comics. Its creator, Charles M. Schulz, did something very rare for his time — he explored children’s anxiety with school and social failure. Hating school, feeling different, being bullied — Schulz laid it bare with humour and compassion.
Schulz wasn’t dyslexic (that I know of), but he could relate. He reported failing every subject at school — a common theme in his comic strip, which ran from 1952 to 2000.
When no one else did, he just seemed to get me. And, of course, his books invited me in to enjoy and feel confident reading. I loved Peanuts so much that I collected the books, wrote Schulz a fan letter and adopted a beagle.
Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about being dyslexic in 20 Peanuts cartoons:
1. We hate school (and we’re not shy about it)
2. We’re listening but we don’t always understand what you’re saying
3. We may need you to repeat things a few times before we get it…
4. Talking loudly won’t help us understand you better
5. We get serious cognitive overload
6. We don’t like tests (but more time and clear instructions helps)
7. Homework is painful (hence, our excellent procrastination skills)
8. We don’t find reading “fun” (unless we’re reading comics, of course!)
9. Combination locks are torture (as is remembering any numbers in sequence)
10. We get teased. A lot.
11. We have anxieties on anxieties…
12. We feel like outsiders
13. We root for the underdog (maybe because we can relate)
14. We question authority
15. We see the bigger picture
16. We see things you don’t
17. We never give up
18. We are entrepreneurial
19. We are resilient
20. We learn to appreciate the little things in life
“Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong.” ~Charles M. Schulz