A 10-year-old girl has won the hearts of tens of thousands of people across the internet. She’s done so by writing a reverse poem about dyslexia. The poem has since gone viral, being praised for its unique format and positive message for kids.
The poem, simply titled “Dyslexia,” has two meanings. When read top to bottom, the poem describes the negative thoughts and feelings that kids with dyslexia feel. Read it bottom to top, and the tone switches to a more empowering one. So empowering that the student’s teacher, Jane Broadis, felt compelled to share it on Twitter.
Today in Y6 we looked at poems that could be read forwards & backwards. I was stunned by this one written by one of my 10 year olds. Please share - I would love her work to be appreciated further afield. I wonder if it could even find a publisher? pic.twitter.com/tmEQpiRrhq — Jane Broadis (@Jb5Jane) February 27, 2019
She had no idea it would resonate with so many people. Many people were surprised to find out, though, that the young author doesn’t have dyslexia. She also doesn’t have a close connection with the learning difference.
So how did she manage to describe the struggles of dyslexia so eloquently?
“She’s just a sensitive child and that’s the theme she chose,” Broadis said in an interview with TODAY. “I’ve spoken about dyslexia. It’s just something she tuned into.”
To Broadis’ delight, social media tuned in as well.
I am on the way to defend my PhD thesis at this very moment, despite being labelled as "stupid" due to my dyslexia. I hope your student remembers her words and never lets anyone make her feel that she cannot succeed. She will rule her universe if she believes she can! — Frances Ryan (@cleverfrances) February 28, 2019
Made this grown man cry. I must have read it over twenty times already. — James Simporis (@simporis) February 27, 2019
So far, the poem has been shared over 50,000 times and has gotten over 170,000 likes. The story is even being covered by journalists in New Zealand and India. Not bad for an assignment that wasn’t even on the day’s agenda.
Broadis says her class started talking about reverse poems, and her students decided on their own to try writing a few lines. The “Dyslexia” author was so engaged that she decided to work on the poem on her own, without any help. She even worked on it during lunchtime.
“I am so pleased for my young poet and that the tweet is helping to shine a light on dyslexia,” Broadis said on Twitter. “If more support is given to learners then this is a good thing.”
You can read the poem below. First read top to bottom, then bottom to top.
“I am stupid Nobody would ever say I have a talent for words I was meant to be great That is wrong I am a failure Nobody could ever convince me to think that I can make it in life”
And in reverse:
“I can make it in life Nobody could ever convince me to think that I am a failure That is wrong I was meant to be great I have a talent for words Nobody would ever say I am stupid”
Hear from LeDerick Horne, a poet with learning disabilities. And learn why Nike’s chief of design believes dyslexia made him see the world differently.
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Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.