Little Rock teacher, student write children’s book about dyslexia

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The National Institutes of Health say one in five people have dyslexia. In fact, according to health experts, it’s the most common learning disability, but very few books that help children with dyslexia understand their disability.

One Little Rock teacher wanted to change that.

The book “Cartwheels” is dedicated to all kids doing the hard work of reading.

It’s about real-life Little Rock student Sloane LaFrance and her challenges and triumphs with dyslexia. It’s a story for opening conversations and explaining the basics of dyslexia to kids.

“The letters, they just sort of looked like weird writing, I guess,” said third grader Sloane LaFrance.

Everyone else around her had the “reading magic,” but she didn’t.  

“I thought I was trying my hardest, but I still wasn’t doing good at all,” LaFrance said. “It made me feel pretty sad because all my friends were ahead of me and my brother was like, reading a lot ahead of me,” said LaFrance.

But her teacher, Tracy Peterson, wasn’t about to see Sloane suffer.

“These kids, kids with dyslexia and with learning differences, they’re their own special kind of smart and have all sorts of strengths,” Peterson said.

She helped Sloane get on the right track.

“She matters so much to me because she was so kind to me,” LaFrance said. “She helped me figure out I had dyslexia and helped me work through it.”

Now the pair who fought so hard to make sense of books, wrote a book about their journey.

“We just wanted to be able for kids with dyslexia to see themselves,” Peterson said.

They titled the book “Cartwheels,” since that was Sloane’s way of masking the problem.

“Instead of reading, because reading was hard for her, she would do cartwheels,” Peterson said. “She would do cartwheels literally in the classroom, she would do cartwheels everywhere.”

The goals for these authors?

“I want them (kids) to know that they’re not alone and if they try hard enough, they can be a better reader,” LaFrance said.

“Touch a heart and start a conversation,” Peterson said.

A conversation about being your own special kind of smart.

Peterson says she’s working on a few other book ideas, one about a child with alopecia and another about children with Type-1 diabetes.

“Cartwheels” has already sold more than 800 copies.

If you want your own, you can visit Peterson’s website by clicking here.

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