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'I Felt I Just Wasn’t As Smart As Everybody Else'


Shelby follows along in class at Earl Boyles Elementary School in Portland. Shelby is one of many students who struggles with dyslexia, something Oregon lawmakers are targeting.

Shelby follows along in class at Earl Boyles Elementary School in Portland. Shelby is one of many students who struggles with dyslexia, something Oregon lawmakers are targeting.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Shelby is a funny, creative girl participating in OPB’s “Class of 2025” project.

“I don’t really like school — just kidding!” Shelby quipped more than a year ago as she was finishing third grade.

She said she’s kidding, but school for Shelby can be difficult, in large part because she likely has dyslexia – a disorder that can make reading much harder.

 

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Class Of 2025: Follow Students From 1st Grade To Graduation

Oregon leaders have promised to ensure that every child graduates on time by 2025. OPB has followed a group of students from kindergarten as they start their educational journey toward high school. Fifth grade is just starting for the Class of 2025. These are some of their stories.

Shelby is getting extra help from teachers, has the support of her mom, and is willing to work hard. Still, she’s behind in reading — and that puts her at greater risk of not graduating on time.

Researchers find that 20 percent of people have dyslexia, but states like Oregon are only recently addressing the problem.

Oregon passed new laws in 2015 after lawmakers heard from children and their parents. The Legislature also heard from adults with dyslexia, like former state Rep. Val Hoyle, who went decades without knowing what made reading so hard for her.

Escuche el podcast en español: ‘Sentí Que No Era Tan Inteligente Como Los Demás’

“What I felt was that I just wasn’t as smart as everybody else,” Hoyle told her fellow legislators.  

In this episode of OPB’s podcast, “Class of 2025,” reporters Roxy De La Torre and Rob Manning visit Shelby at school and at home – and learn how difficulties like dyslexia affect a child’s education.

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