Sports on our minds…and for our minds

kid playing sports

Did you know there is a connection between athletics and the ability to learn?

In her article for the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, “Sports: Strengthening Their Self Confidence and School Skills,” Nancy Hall makes the point that “physical activities like individual or team sports, important for any child, are especially beneficial for those with dyslexia.”

Hall goes on to offer helpful stories illustrating her point — examples in which youth who struggle with dyslexia offset some aspect of their difficulty with success in sports. Issues of self-esteem, frustration, motivation, relationships and even organization can be improved through athletics and such improvements can give students the confidence they need to continue making progress on the academic side.

When a child struggles to read, write or spell, it’s easy for life to fall out of balance — for the child and the family to turn a laser focus on “fixing” the problem at the expense of play, fun, and recreation.

Getting a professional evaluation and finding the right treatment is essential, but, as Nancy Hall demonstrates, sports can be a vital supplement to language therapy for children with dyslexia. 

Lexercise’s online, research-based services help struggling readers, writers, and spellers — no matter where they live! Take a look at our Online Dyslexia Testing and Treatment page or contact us at or 1-919-747-4557.

One Response to Sports on our minds…and for our minds

  • Cheri Rae commented

    This article really hit home with me since my son loves baseball–and it has been his big area of success (as opposed to the classroom) since he was tiny. It’s also helped with science projects (wood bat vs. metal bat), writing/dictating meaningful essays (on his favorite player, a special coach) and selecting books for us to read in his area of interest. Even one great special ed teacher used to play catch with him in class, creatively using a kinesthetic approach to reinforce her lessons.

    Now that he’s in high school there’s a lot of additional pressure to get good grades to be part of the athletic/academic crowd, and of course, to stay on the team. And it’s often clear that there are kids on the team who have to sit out because their GPA is too low, due to undiagnosed LD, no doubt. With increased competition in getting playing time, I’ve even heard from parents who think it’s an unfair advantage in the classoom and on the ballfield when an athletically talented kid with an IEP gets “special treatment” in academic classes, when other kids, for whom academics come naturally, don’t get that kind of “special treatment.”

    Parents who are tempted to withhold sports in an effort to help their kids get better grades may want to re-think taking away that area of success.

    I agree wholeheartedly that sports is a very important outlet (especially since these are often the restless kids who have to get outside for a break, but are often told they have to stay in for recess to finish their work…or spell the words correctly…), there are some pitfalls that parents need to monitor.

    As always, thank you for all you do. It’s so needed and much appreciated.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.