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How Dyslexia Led This Camp Counselor to Dye His Hair Pink

By Tara Drinks on

When Samyra, an 11-year-old from Ohio, was diagnosed with dyslexia, she felt so bad about herself that she lost her desire to read. But that all changed when her summer camp counselor, Oliver, stepped in.

“It started almost as a joke,” he told BBC News. Oliver challenged Samyra to read 10 books in five weeks. If she did, she could dye his hair another color.

Eager to win, Samyra set out to read two books per week. But the first book she chose was 345 pages. She realized she needed to find shorter books that were manageable to read.

And that’s exactly what she did. During the next five weeks, Samyra read 10 books. She did it with the help of assistive technology. Samyra used Learning Ally, an online service that adds audio to text, so kids can follow along as a book is read aloud.

Samyra mostly read from the Whatever After book series, which is based on modern-day fairy tales. “I kept reading,” she said. “I wanted him to have pink hair.”

Eventually he did, according to a post Oliver made on Reddit. “Well, she finished her challenge and, alas, I now have pink hair.”

His new look was a hit, but the experience represented much more than good humor. It challenged Samyra to believe in herself and in her ability to read. And she hasn’t stopped, says her mother Kris. “Even now that the challenge is over, she’s up late reading her book before bed.”

Oliver is also happy that Samyra now wants to read. “Having her see that even with dyslexia, she could still read and read at a high level, that was really something.”


Learn where to find free audiobooks for your child. Explore ways to encourage your child to read. And get inspired by a teen with dyslexia who used sign language to help a deaf and blind passenger during a flight.

Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

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