Should a bright fifth grader be able to read the word "financial?" Well, when driving by the Philadelphia Eagle’s stadium the other day, fifth grade Carrie got excited when she saw the stadium with the sign outside that read "Lincoln Financial Field."

The problem was Carrie couldn’t read the word "financial." Instead she said "There’s Lincoln Whatever Field!"

Carries’ parents have brought their concerns to school personnel since she was in third grade. Hearing Carrie’s struggles with difficult words nightly, they have wondered whether she may have dyslexia.

Repeatedly they have been told things like:

"She’s so sweet. She’s such a hard worker."

"We don’t believe in dyslexia."

"She comprehends so well. She can’t have a problem."

Many bright kids can comprehend, even if they do not read words very well. It’s like playing tennis. You can win many games with a good forehand while covering up your weak backhand. Carrie does that while reading. She is smart enough to cover up her weaknesses and the fact that she’s so "sweet" really doesn’t help her.

To draw another parallel, recently I was a participant listening to a webinar lecture. The problems was that the audio frequently cut-out, making it difficult, but not impossible to follow. While I missed a lot of information, I got enough to get by.

That’s what reading is like for Carrie. Probably every tenth word or so "cuts-out" and becomes "whatever," while she plugs along and tries not to get noticed.  She can bluff it by answering enough questions to show she comprehends

I don’t know how you see it, but it seems like a problem to me when a fifth grader has to say "whatever" when reading a word like "financial."  It strikes me that there’s a problem there that needs attention.

It really is beyond my "comprehension" how anyone can view that as adequate reading.