Young and Dyslexic



'Shut up, stupid boy. Bad people would do one-third more bad.' - Shows harshenss of teachers. Also shows how whilst Zephaniah thought people could do one-third more good- teachers thought negativley about one-third more bad- suggesting the negativity of the teachers and the education system (an ongoing suggestion throughout the text.)

'Nazis weren't that bad.' - This shows the teacher's carelessness. comparing Zeph to Nazis.

'But oppurtunites opened for me and they missed theirs, didn't notice them or didn't take them'  - this quote maintains hope for young and dyslexic readers suggesting that everyone gets their oppurtunity but they must take it, encouraging them to take it.

'I just had self-belief.' - hints that it is self-beleif that is needed to get the oppurtunity and that it saved him from prison life.


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'Brunel University...professor' - these words show how despite his dyslexia and other challenges he faced, he came out as a successful man with a high status role.

'Squiggle' - shows non-dyslexic readers what words may look like to him

'go outside and play some football' - His teachers racially stereotyped him and expected only this of him.

'Bloody non-dyslexics...who do they think they are?' - Colloquial language used- light hearted way to end text. 

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'We are the architects, we are the designers.' - Inclusive pronoun 'we' used. Positive statement turning usual negative associations to dyslexia into positives.

'No compassion, no understanding, no humanity.' - Rule of 3 emphasises how dyslexia was seen in the past and how the school system was.

'idea of being kind and thoughtful and listening to problems.'- another rule of 3 used- contrasts with previous rule of 3 and shows what it should've been like.

'I thought I'd put a good idea. I was just being creative.' - Short sentence to suggest Zephaniah's shock at teacher's harsh response.

'''local savages''' - Direct speech shows reality behind anecdote. Zeph vividly remembers exact words suggesting how it affected him.

'black fell apart, in trouble with the police...unable to read or write, with no qualifications and, on top of all that, dyslexic.' - Shows the reader what he has overcome. Excessive listing used. gives hope to reader that even someone with such challenges had overcome the stereotypes and achieved success.


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'it's not you'-  direct address is used to communicate directly to reader. and advise.

'Dyslexia is not a measure of intellegence: you may have a genius on your hands.' - Use of colon to emphasise second clause- that you could have a genius.

''creativity muscle'' - Inverted commas uses as this is an invented term. Adds physicallity to statement. Ironically contrasts with the physical muscles Zeph's teachers expected him to have. it also shows how you can create solutions to the problems you have.

'Us dyslexic people, we've got it going on- we are the architects, we are the designers.' - 'us' collective pronoun. Repetition used to bring reader back to focus. Urban idiom used to show despite his success and becoming of a professor, he still remembers his roots.

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-Structural topic shifts.

-'In many ways, being dyslexic is a natural way to be.'

(next paragraph beginning...)

'What's unnatural is the way we read and write.'

- SO- unnatural and natural used here to link paragraphs.

Circular structure- begins and ends with 'we are the architects, we are the designers.' repetition of 'dyslexics, we've got it going on.' 

Gives direct advice to reader at the end.


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Clear, direct language. Colloquial and informal.

Direct speech and reported speech.

Punctuation -specifically colon.

Short sentences.

Patterened sentences e.g. pairs of ideas and rule of 3.

Inclusive and collective pronouns e.g We, us. Also direct address to reader.

Encouraging and positive tone , despite challenges described.

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