“Dear teacher, I have dyslexia,” explains fifth grader in self-advocacy video

By Geri Coleman Tucker

“Dear 5th grade teacher,

My name is Sophia.

I am exsidid to be in your class.

I want you to know…

I have dislexia.”

That’s how Sophia Granucci’s “dyslexia fight song” begins. The 10-year-old from Roseville, California, and her mother, Lisa Granucci, created the video for her new teacher. They wanted to explain that Sophia is smart, but she has trouble with reading and spelling.

This August, they posted it on YouTube. In just a few days, the video racked up nearly 7,000 views. Now it has fans from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

“I wanted my teacher to know that is hard to deal with,” says Sophia, who attends Heritage Oaks Elementary. “I wanted her to know that I need to be able to use a spellchecker when I write. And instead of reading books all the time, I need to be able to listen to them on my iPad.”

Before the school year began, Sophia sent the video to her teacher, Ann Beeson. The teacher immediately called her — even though it was a Saturday — and talked with her, Lisa says. Beeson and Sophia met up and spent time together before classes began. Lisa says they’ve developed a “great relationship.”

In first and second grade, Sophia was reading below grade level. So she received a school evaluation at the end of second grade. But she wasn’t found eligible for services at that time. Her reading-proficiency gap wasn’t found to be significant enough.

“Third grade was the worst year,” Lisa says. “Sophia not only had problems in reading, writing, and spelling — but also math.” After that, her parents paid to have a private evaluation. Her mom says that evaluation showed that, “Hands down, she has dyslexia.”

Sophia’s parents took the results to her school and, when she was in fourth grade, Sophia got an . Thanks to the school services she received, she made the honor roll three times, her mom says. Sophia is also privately enrolled in a Barton reading program.

So far, fifth grade has been easy, Sophia says. “But I’ve heard that things will get hard next year in middle school.”

She’s not worried, though. “I’m as smart as anyone else. Plus I think dyslexia is really cool to have because you have some abilities that other people don’t.”

Sophia says one of her special talents is her creativity. She loves art and drawing pictures. And she likes gathering random objects from the backyard and building things.

Making the video let Sophia use her creativity to speak up for herself. Her mom says she wanted to teach Sophia the importance of advocating for herself. And Sophia says she’s learning that her self-advocacy can benefit other kids with dyslexia. That’s because it may inspire them to advocate for themselves.

“She’s not embarrassed at all about her dyslexia,” Lisa says. “In fact she’s happy to share the video and show it to others.”

Sophia’s self-advocacy is already helping others. One commenter on YouTube wrote: “I shared this with my daughter who will be starting 4th grade; as I read the cards to her my daughter said, ‘She is like me,’ which made me teary-eyed. This was just what my daughter needed to hear.”

    Tell us what interests you

    Share

    About the author

    About the author

    Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for