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10 Books in Five Weeks: How a Pink Hair Challenge Helped a Dyslexic Girl Read

Dyslexia can be a crippling disorder for anyone; not only because it makes reading incredibly hard, but it also discourages many people from reading at all. Children are especially prone to discouragement when their learning difficultly makes them feel different in school, like there is something wrong with them. But one eleven-year-old girl fought through her adversity to better her reading.


Her motivation for completing ten books in five weeks?  A simple bet with her camp counselor.




Image via eLearningInside News



Samyra was diagnosed with dyslexia this year, and her initial reaction was one of sadness. Her mother, Kris, noticed how her daughter’s self-esteem dropped after the diagnosis. Samyra was ashamed of her disorder even though studies show that as many as 17% of our global population suffers from the very reading disability. 


So, when Samyra went to summer camp and expressed to her councilor, Oliver, her anxiety concerning her dyslexia, Oliver came up with a plan. As soon as he realized how this was affecting her, he knew he had to help. In an interview with BBC, Oliver said:


It started almost as a joke. I told her that if she could read 10 books [in five weeks], she could dye my hair another color.


Samyra knew exactly what color Oliver’s hair needed to be. The next day, she instantly came up to him and told him her choice. “I told him right away,” said Samyra, “I told him hot pink. His favourite colour is purple, but I knew he’d look good in pink.”


At first, Samyra had her doubts. She knew she would struggle, but she wanted to conquer this challenge to show to herself that she could overcome her disorder. That and the fact that Oliver would be having a pink head of hair for a while. In the end, Samyra would indeed reach her goal: ten books and 1,796 pages all read within five weeks!




Image via Odyssey



Samyra may have had help at first, but after the first couple of books, she was able to read the last all on her own. To help her beat her dyslexia, Samyra used Learning Ally to help her read books while also listening to audiobooks. She was able to follow along at first, but then gained the confidence she needed to do it by herself. 


After her parents marked her reading chart as complete, Samyra ran up to Oliver and let him know of her grand achievement. Staying true to their agreement, Oliver dyed his hair completely hot pink! He was proud, not only in Samyra’s ability to improve her reading so drastically but also because she regained her confidence; saying, “You should see just how proud she is. Having her see that even with dyslexia, she could still read and read at a high level, that was really something. It’s close to fifty pages a day. I presented her a challenge and she overcame it – it showed her she can accomplish these things.”


After her challenge, Samyra refused to stop reading. She also began to start giving back to her community through different volunteer programs. The young eleven-year-old has been insbyd with her experience to help as many as possible. Samyra is involved with the ASPCA as well as other local shelters in her community. Samyra will continue to improve on her reading while at the same time helping people in any way that she possibly can.




Image via bbc.co.uk



Samyra’s book-list includes:

1. I Even Funnier

2. Fairest of All

3. If the Shoe Fits

4. Sink or Swim

5. Bad Hair Day

6. Dream On

7. Cold as Ice

8. Beauty Queen

9. Genie in a Bottle

10. Once Upon a Frog




Featured Image via bbc.co.uk