In this episode of the Vulnerability Podcast, host Marisa Donnelly jumps into a discussion with Bonnie Shaver-Troup EdD, founder of Lexend, about education, learning, and changing the way we read.

Lexend is a collection of font families intended to improve reading proficiency. In this episode, Marisa and Bonnie share their personal stories and Bonnie offers practical solutions for how to help dyslexic students and struggling readers of all ages.

Highlights From the Episode:

[2:30] “What I noticed – the common element, obviously – is the struggle with reading. And not just the struggle, but the pain…the shame… the enormous pain that it put on the whole family.”

[2:55] “Although I was a trained therapist, I saw that we were not able to truly implement success in the “now.” It was always going to be, ‘Keep doing this and you will get there.’ And yes, that does work. But in the meantime, we’re losing our children.”

[3:45] “I started saying, ‘What if it’s print?'”

[4:15] “I’m very much a person that believes that we are spiritual beings. I believe that when we ask for something and when we seek to find it, we will find it.

[6:00] “It’s a story of a miracle for all of us in a sense because it doesn’t just work for struggling readers. The fonts really are about the visual field and that it creates ease of reading for virtually everyone.”

[7:00] “We have to push back against what’s ‘normal’ to find out what works for us.”

[7:05] “As long as we keep looking where we’ve always been, we’re going to find what we already have. We have to step outside the boundaries that we previously considered and look for the variables or the differences that might be outside.”

[7:50] “That’s where new ideas come from—from the idea that something that hasn’t been explored yet could be a solution.”

[9:00] “People still have all sorts of needs. You can’t make a solution and say, ‘Well, that’s it.’ It has to be implemented within the larger midframe. And that’s what Lexend is. It literally says, ‘Changing the way we read by changing the font.’ It doesn’t mean you don’t have to implement all the other things.”

[13:00] “We are offering a solution for someone we may never meet. But they will hear it and it will be their solution.”

[17:00] “It was such an impactful experience to recognize that I could create a solution and be a guide for others… I knew that I could never repay what I had been blessed with, but I knew that I could give in the same way.”

[20:05] “My son is not dumb. Look beyond these struggles and challenges and see who he is.”

[20:40] “Maybe not fixing or offering a solution, but being willing to try. And to show up for people, and to show up for families, and to show up for kids. And to remind them they are not their challenges.”

[24:30] “When we present the tool that allows a student to perceive — vision is a perception, it uses the eyes and the brain – when they can perceive the print, they can read the message (the text).”

[29:25] “At some point, the ‘now’ will be [easy], and some days you won’t even remember that other time when it was so hard.”

[30:10] “The world is so big and so full of opportunity to tell our stories to one another and to share them.”

Recommended Resources:

  • LexendChanging the way we read This is a collection of fonts to help with reading. Here’s an example of Deca on Google!
  • Building A Village,” Episode 36 of VulnerABILITY with Jennifer Wildasin on creating solutions and opportunities for dyslexic children.

For more episodes of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, click here.