The Best Picture Winner You Might Not Have Heard Of: 12 Years A Slave And Dyslexia


The Academy Award for Best Picture in 2013 went to an incredible movie that may have flown under the radar for many people: 12 Years A Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen, this critically acclaimed film follows the story of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. This powerful movie has an even more meaningful connection to dyslexia. Solomon Northup was actually dyslexic, and the film provides insight into how he was able to survive and eventually be freed. In this blog post, we’ll explore the unique relationship between 12 Years A Slave and dyslexia.

1) What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading and writing. It is the most common learning disability, affecting between 5 and 17 percent of all school-aged children. People with dyslexia have difficulty processing language, which can make it difficult to read, write, and spell. Symptoms of dyslexia can vary from person to person, but may include difficulty with word recognition and decoding, poor spelling, difficulty with comprehension and/or memory, and difficulty with writing skills. Dyslexia does not have an effect on intelligence; people with dyslexia can still be successful in school, work, and life.

2) How does dyslexia affect reading and writing?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects an individual’s ability to read and write. For people with dyslexia, understanding written language can be challenging and time-consuming. Reading tasks such as decoding words, recognizing sight words, and comprehending written material can be difficult for people with dyslexia.

For those who have dyslexia, writing can also be a struggle. Dyslexic individuals often have trouble forming letters, misspelling words, or writing legibly. Additionally, they may experience difficulties organizing their thoughts and ideas on paper.

In order to compensate for their struggles, those with dyslexia may resort to re-reading sentences multiple times in order to make sense of what they are reading or take more time than usual to write out their thoughts. It is important to note that dyslexia does not affect an individual’s intelligence; rather, it affects the way in which they process language.

3) What are some accommodations for dyslexia?

When it comes to helping individuals with dyslexia, there are a variety of accommodations that can be used. These accommodations are designed to help those with dyslexia access the same educational opportunities as their peers without the added difficulty caused by dyslexia. 

Some of these accommodations include: providing extra time for tests and assignments, allowing the use of a spell checker or dictionary, providing audio versions of texts and materials, providing digital copies of textbooks, breaking down assignments into smaller parts, and making use of visual aids when teaching new material. Allowing a student with dyslexia to take tests orally can also be helpful. Additionally, teachers can provide text-to-speech software and digital voice recorders to help students better comprehend material. 

Finally, teachers and parents should emphasize the importance of patience and understanding in order to foster a positive learning environment for students with dyslexia. If you are a parent or teacher of a student with dyslexia, don’t be afraid to talk with them and ask what kind of accommodations would make their educational journey easier and more successful.

4) How did the movie 12 Years a Slave portray dyslexia?

The movie 12 Years a Slave (2013) was an Academy Award-winning film based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. In one particularly powerful scene, Solomon is unable to read an article that his master has presented to him, despite his best attempts. This scene reveals Solomon’s dyslexia and helps to illustrate some of the challenges faced by individuals with dyslexia.

The movie does an excellent job of depicting Solomon’s struggles with reading and writing in a realistic way. We can see the physical and emotional struggle he goes through trying to read a simple document. His efforts are made even more difficult by his master’s impatience, which exacerbates his dyslexia and makes the task seem all but impossible. 

In addition to showing the physical struggles that dyslexic individuals face, 12 Years a Slave also helps to show the societal pressures that these individuals experience as a result of their disorder. It is clear that Solomon’s master sees his inability to read as a sign of weakness and an indication that he is not suitable for certain tasks. This kind of pressure is something that many dyslexic individuals experience in their daily lives and the movie does a great job of bringing this to light. 

Overall, 12 Years a Slave does an admirable job of portraying the struggles that those with dyslexia face on a daily basis. The movie shows both the physical and emotional difficulties of reading and writing, as well as the societal pressures that come along with it. By doing so, it raises awareness about dyslexia and helps to bring attention to the challenges faced by individuals with this disorder.

5) What are some other popular movies with dyslexic characters?

The movie 12 Years A Slave has brought dyslexia to the forefront of the conversation. However, there are many other popular films that feature characters with dyslexia or similar learning disabilities. 

In 1988’s Rain Man, Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman, is an autistic savant who struggles to interact with the world. While not explicitly stated as having dyslexia, he displays some of the symptoms associated with the condition, such as difficulty understanding facial expressions and body language. 

Forrest Gump is a beloved classic which tells the story of a man with below-average intelligence. In the 1994 film, Forrest demonstrates difficulty with writing and reading, but his inherent charm and courage make him a beloved figure in the eyes of viewers everywhere. 

The 2003 film Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, a young boy who is sent to a juvenile detention center after being wrongfully accused of stealing. During his time there, Stanley reveals his difficulties in reading and writing and is eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. This film shows how Stanley overcomes his learning disability and ultimately triumphs in the end. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 drama about a teenager named Charlie who is struggling with his mental health. While not explicitly stated as having dyslexia, he demonstrates difficulty in understanding language and reading comprehension. 

These are just a few examples of popular films which feature characters with dyslexia or related learning disabilities. While they may not be the most traditional representation of dyslexia, they provide an important glimpse into the lives of people living with the condition and show how these characters can still be successful and find happiness despite their struggles.