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Episode 16: Why Dyslexia Matters in Early Childhood, With Erica Piana

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Happy July, Teachers of Littles!

This week’s episode episode is all about DYSLEXIA -- and this topic really hits close to home for me!

As longtime listeners already know, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia as an adult. So you can imagine how excited I was to sit down and do a deep dive with Erica Piana, M.Ed., AMBDA, who is an educator as well as the founder of Voices of Dyslexia.

We covered so much in this episode, but something I really want to share with you guys is the topic of diversity in the world of dyslexia. I was shocked to learn that Black students typically get diagnosed later in their careers -- high school, college, and beyond. This is a hard topic to engage in, I know. But it’s necessary to bring this to our awareness -- it’s crucial if we are going to be mindful of supporting ALL of our students, and in recognizing behavior as communication and never as malice.

As a strong, united Teacher Tribe, we are candid and we are REAL, and we are there to support one another in supporting our Littles. And sometimes that support means we are helping one another take an honest look at our classrooms so we can uncover any hidden biases and be the change that ROCKS the teaching world for the better! 

So come dig deep with me this week, Teacher of Littles -- brew up your favorite tea, and join us as we engage in some Real Talk about DYSLEXIA! And remember, whatever works to help your dyslexic students benefits ALL the students in the classroom! Get the full episode here:



How do we spot the earliest signs of dyslexia? (And no, it’s NOT the reversal of letters)! (06:14)

How and why do we encourage advocacy and diagnosis in the EARLY years? (10:43)

What is “worksheet anxiety,” and how do we help Littles overcome it? (13:38)

How do working memory skills and executive functioning skills come into play, and how can we help Littles if they’re struggling in these areas? (18:40)

How can we use visual cues, modeling, repetition, and peers to model behavior? (22:30)

How does incorporating activities like hand games, midline activities, and movement help strengthen the brain and the working memory piece? (26:30)

What is the role of diversity in this field? (29:08)

For this week’s challenge, I would love for you to pick a famous person with a learning disability (or yourself, if you have one), and share the story! Post on Instagram and let us know what diversity means to you in this space, and don’t forget to tag me @themagicoflittles, and Erica @voicesofdyslexia! And if you want to dig deeper on dyslexia, be sure to check out the link in Erica’s instagram bio for a virtual learning guide!

Send me your thoughts, questions, and feedback at!

After this episode airs, I’m taking a three-week hiatus so I can focus my energies on the beta group that I’m running with the “Can I Play Too?” collective, as well as my speaking engagement at The Total Teachers Summit. In the meantime, make sure you join our email list to receive our weekly newsletters if you haven’t already, and keep an eye on our Magic of Littles Facebook Group, as I’ll still be posting regular content in there as well!

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