Small Success: My Daughter With Dyslexia Explained Why “Diner” and “Dinner” Sound Different

I’m a mom of three kids, two of whom have dyslexia. With my oldest, reading just seemed to happen for her—she had no issues. But my other two kids have struggled with reading, especially my youngest daughter.

My youngest recently began a multisensory, structured reading program. The research says it should help, but I know every child is different. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to get my hopes up until I saw real improvement in her reading skills. Every night, I’ve been saying a little prayer.

Well, last week, my daughter and I were heading out to a restaurant when she suddenly perked up and said, “Hey Mom, do you know why diner and dinner sound the way they do?”

“Hmm, why don’t you tell me?” I replied with interest.

“Well,” she said, “the e makes the vowel say its name, right? And you know what else? It can’t jump over two consonants. So, in diner the i says its name, and in dinner it doesn’t!”

I was so happy. To some, this might be just a little rule about a silent e, but for her, it’s a huge step in her ability to decode words. Not only did she know the rule, she applied it. And that’s a big deal for us.

—Kristin Kane

Kristin Kane is the mother of three, two of whom have learning and thinking differences. She’s also an information specialist for Virginia’s Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), which helps parents of children with disabilities through education, information and training.

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About the author

The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.