Morrison Bridge will turn red to raise awareness of dyslexia

Bridge lit red for dyslexia awareness

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The lights of Portland's the Morrison Bridge will be red for three nights starting October 15, to raise awareness about dyslexia,

"It's not about seeing words backwards," said Edison High School sophomore Riley Herndon. "I have to go slowly to get the bigger words sounding them out so it takes me longer to get down the page."

Herndon started struggling in kindergarten but didn't get diagnosed as dyslexic until five years later.

"I go so frustrated I would just avoid reading," she remembered. "One teacher even told me I was hopeless."

Riley's story is all too familiar to some Oregon moms who started a group called Decoding Dyslexia.

"We could be helping kids so much earlier," said Lisa Lyon. "If a child can't rhyme at age four or remember the days of the week or months of the year, those are red flags."

Believing the key is in schools, Decoding Oregon went to state lawmakers and came away with two new laws.

The first requires all K-through-5 schools in Oregon to have at least one staff member trained to spot the signs of dyslexia.

The second requires Oregon colleges to include dyslexia in the curriculum for students learning to become teachers.

"This is a good start," said Lyon. "We think catching kids who need help early will improve their academic outcome and their behavior."    

Riley knows what getting the necessary help can mean.

She's thriving as a student at Edison where about 20 percent of the students are dyslexic.

"We are just as smart as other kids," said said. "We just need patience."

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