Reading the Ending First— Spoiling the Book or Reading Smarter?

I might start receiving hate mail from all you avid readers for suggesting the idea of reading the ending of a book first, but hear me out before you pick up your pens. Before posting this, the title of my first draft was “Dyslexia: Ruining the Endings of Books since 1881”; and, despite this rather silly and facetious title, I truly believe that this exercise—reading the ending first—can actually be incredibly beneficial and helpful for reading, understanding, and remembering texts if you are dyslexic.

Students with dyslexia often have a hard time trudging through chapter after chapter in a book. The information can be confusing and hard to comprehend or recall; and while reading, if you forget where you were before, how can you understand where you are now? Reading requires understanding point A so that you can move on and understand point B.

The tough part is that those with dyslexia are typically big-picture people. They want the whole story, not the details, not the chapters in the middle. And here’s what I believe: in order to understand the often murky chapters in the middle, students with dyslexia need to read the beginning and end of the story before they dive into the middle.

When I ask my students how they feel about the strategy of reading the ending first, I get surprisingly positive responses. One student told me that he loved the idea and predicted that, though it would spoil the suspense of a book, reading the ending first would make everything in the middle clearer. This student claimed that when he reads books, he often loses interest when things are confusing or if he can’t remember what is happening. But he said that if he reads the endings of the books first, he might understand and remember the middle bits better, helping him keep interested in the story.

Students with dyslexia who fall behind reading chapter books are often able to catch up again by reading the beginning and end of the books first before returning to the middle. Think of when we’re learning new information or reading a textbook. Isn’t it helpful to flip to the chapter review, read the summary, and look at the key points before returning to the text? It makes things clearer, we comprehend the concepts better, and we retain the details more easily.

So, next time your student, child, friend, etc., picks up a book and heaves a heavy, miserable sigh, urge them to skip to the back and read the ending. It takes a little courage to turn tradition on its head, but chances are these big-picture people will get much more out of the book by doing this—they’ll remember more of the story as they go, comprehend the concepts, and maybe even overcome a little anxiety about reading at the same time.

Tennessee Dyslexia Centers is here for you and can help your struggling reader. We are equipped to work with all ages and have the ability to increase your child's reading skills drastically. Contact our office for a free consultation today! 615-236-6483 |

#dyslexiadefinitionschooleducationlearningteacherbrain #neuroscience #novelty #brainplasticity

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