Avi on Writer’s Block, Having Symptoms of Dyslexia, and Responding Generously

Thank you to the authors of the forthcoming The Dyslexic Advantage for the Facebook share of Reading Rocket’s recent interview with children’s author extraordinaire, Avi. I first took a look at the interview (and video clip) for his thoughts on dyslexia, but then found myself drawn into the rest of the transcript, some snippets of which follow. Avi fans, enjoy!

On Writer’s Block

I talk to kids all the time. And inevitably, somebody will say, “Did you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I don’t know why everyone knows about writer’s block, but they do. Do they ever ask an actor, “Do you have actor’s block?” Or do they speak to their mailman and say, “Do you have mailman block today?” But writer’s block is a common question. And I say to them, “Well, what do you mean by that?” Because it apparently means different things to different people. Read More

On Symptoms of Dyslexia

[W]hen I finally got to college, I was so sick of being criticized and being told “sloppy” and “careless” that I didn’t take any English classes. I didn’t take any of those requirements. But I was reading and writing voraciously. I sort of just didn’t know any better, and kept going. Read More

On Teaching Writing to Children

If this kid has poured his heart out in a poem, and then to say, “Wow. It’s okay, but there’s a dangling participle in paragraph two,” what does that do to the child’s writing? It’s not to say that there’s not a dangling participle. And don’t ask what a dangling participle is, because I don’t know. It’s that the child’s first response is, “I’ve tried to do something emotional, and I’m trying to communicate.” And you need to respond on those levels first, and you need to respond generously. Read More

3 thoughts on “Avi on Writer’s Block, Having Symptoms of Dyslexia, and Responding Generously

  1. Thank you for doing some excerpting! It’s interesting to me that his parents had him tested for dyslexia, but never told him the results even while he struggled.. A compelling interview.

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