9 Films That Feature Dyslexia

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Dyslexia plays a leading role in these nine movies. Watching them with your child creates an opportunity to talk about his reading issues. Ask, “What do you think the filmmakers got right? What else do you wish people knew about dyslexia?” And use them as discussion points to talk about any problems or worries he may have.

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Video cover for The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia
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“The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”

This documentary is both lively and inspiring. In it, parents and kids share what it’s like to live with dyslexia. Successful adults like politician Gavin Newsom and business leader Charles Schwab talk about growing up with reading issues. And they all offer words of hope for other parents and kids. Their message? Dyslexia doesn’t hold back anyone’s imagination or creativity. Anything a kid dreams up is possible for him!

Video cover for Journey Into Dyslexia
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“Journey Into Dyslexia”

“Society would be much poorer without people who think differently,” says Alan Raymond. Along with his wife Susan, Raymond is one of the filmmakers behind this HBO documentary. In the film, the Raymonds talk to many well-known adults with reading issues. They interview advocate Erin Brockovich, Intel Reader inventor Ben Foss and Nobel laureate Dr. Carol Greider, among others. They talk about their reading and writing issues. And they share how they’ve learned to succeed with them. If you want your child to be excited about what he can do with his life, don’t miss this movie.

Video cover for Like Stars on Earth
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“Like Stars on Earth”

In this Indian film (dubbed in English), 8-year-old Ishaan can’t stop daydreaming in class. His teachers think he’s lazy. And his parents get tired of him getting into trouble. They send him to boarding school, where the art teacher notices more than just Ishaan’s active imagination. That’s how Ishaan finds out he has dyslexia. With tutoring and class accommodations, he starts to do much better. Finally, he can feel confident about his academic and art skills. The hopeful message makes this fun film great to watch as a family.

Video cover for Dislecksia: The Movie
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“Dislecksia: The Movie”

Kids may enjoy this documentary’s lighter approach to reading issues. Sometimes it’s funny or silly. But it still says a lot about dyslexia. Filmmaker Harvey Hubbell V doesn’t see the issue as a learning disability. He sees it as a learning difference. Hubbell shares what growing up with dyslexia was like for him. And he shows advocates, scientists and students working to make things better. He also films famous people with dyslexia. You’ll hear from actor Billy Bob Thornton and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, among others.

Video cover for Inside Dyslexia
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“Inside Dyslexia”

Two filmmakers who have dyslexia created this 2005 documentary. It’s one of the first intimate looks at the lives of young people with reading issues. The film follows three young students. We find out how their parents discovered the kids’ reading and writing issues. We see the students at school and at home. And the kids talk honestly about what it’s like to live with their issues while dreaming about their futures.

(This film also touches on other learning and attention issues. Dysgraphia and dyscalculia are among them.)

Video cover for The Secret
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“The Secret”

In this television movie, Mike (Kirk Douglas) has spent his entire life trying to hide his dyslexia. Only his best friend and his wife have ever known that he can’t read or write. As the owner of a general store, he’s been able to create workarounds for his issues. But when he’s nominated for local political office, he worries about how he can keep his secret under wraps. Then he learns his grandson also has trouble reading. And Mike has to confront his shame and accept his challenges for the sake of the boy—and his own future happiness.

Video cover for Embracing Dyslexia
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“Embracing Dyslexia”

This documentary had very personal beginnings. Director Luis Macias says, “I can’t take back … the many times I accused my son of being lazy and not trying hard enough. This film is my way of trying to prevent other children and their families from having to go through what we did.” In the movie, people with dyslexia, experts and parents explain what dyslexia feels like. They encourage early identification. And they stress how much support in school and at home can help kids.

Video cover for file “ReadMeDifferently”, a film by Sarah Entire
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“Read Me Differently”

Filmmaker Sarah Entine was identified as having dyslexia as a child. But she doesn’t fully understand what that means until her late 20s. To explore her reading issues, she decides to interview her family. That’s when she discovers something about her mother and grandmother: They may have undiagnosed learning and attention issues. A lack of understanding has hurt relationships between family members for years. This documentary is an authentic look at how dyslexia can impact a family.

Film: "Being You"
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“Being You”

In this powerful documentary, three young adults with learning and attention issues travel across the country to envision how bright their futures truly can be. The “road-trippers” meet successful adults with issues like dyslexia and ADHD—including TV host Howie Mandel, ice sculptor John Rodrigues and filmmaker Peggy Stern—and are inspired to set out on their own roads in life.

Understood created Being You in partnership with Roadtrip Nation, an organization dedicated to helping people find career and life fulfillment. Watch the trailer and download our free Being You discussion guide.

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Dyslexia: Possible Causes

Dyslexia is a common learning issue that affects reading and other skills. Researchers think genes and brain function might play a role in dyslexia. Find out what could cause dyslexia.

10 Movie and TV Characters With Dyslexia

Kids often look to TV and movie characters to help them make sense of the world. If your child has dyslexia, she may benefit from seeing her own struggles and successes played out on-screen. Here are some characters to watch together.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright is a veteran writer and editor who helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

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