Princess Beatrice has narrated a book to empower children with dyslexia ahead of Children’s Book Day.
The 32-year-old royal, who has been candid about her own struggles with dsylexia growing up, was filmed narrating Xtraordinary People, published by Penguin Random House Children’s, from her home at St James’s Palace in London.
The book was written by Kate Griggs, the founder of global charity Made By Dyslexia, of which Beatrice is an ambassador, and the foreword was penned by Sir Richard Branson, who is also dyslexic.
Xtraordinary People encourages children to embrace the strengths they gain from dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects reading and writing.
The royal, who was diagnosed aged seven, said she now sees her condition as a ‘tremendous gift’ and wants to help children to learn from their strengths ahead of International Children’s Book Day on April 2.
Princess Beatrice, 32, pictured who is one of the ambassadors of global charity Made By Dyslexia, narrated Xtraordinary People, by Kate Griggs, ahead of International Children’s Book Day from her home at St James’s Palace, London
‘What you may not know about me is that I was Made by Dyslexia, which was a bit of a struggle when I was at school,’ Beatrice said in promotional video for the book.
‘But now, thanks to all the practice and a lot of support, I feel so lucky to be made by Dyslexia and working with some incredible organisations who are there to support you on your journey to find out what your superpower is,’ she added.
‘So today, I am thrilled to be reading this amazing book, called Xtraordinary people,’ she added.
Xtraordinary People was written by Kate Griggs, the founder of Made by Dyslexia
In another video, the royal was seen reading a few pages from the book, including how having dyslexia can help children access certain jobs, due to their ‘xtraordinary way of thinking.’
The book presents dyslexia as a ‘superpower’ that children can tap into to progress in life.
‘People “Made by Dyslexia” are very good at certain things. Some people call them our “superpowers”,’ Beatrice read.
‘We say that is what makes us Xtraordinary. You see, when you’re dyslexic, you think a little different to people who not dyslexic.
‘This Xtraordinary way of thinking males us very good at all sorts of things.’
Beatrice, who is one of Made by Dyslexia’s ambassadors, has been candid about her struggles with dyslexia.
The book, read by Beatrice, pictured, encourages children to hone the skills they had to develop due to dyslexia
Xtraordinary People also encourage children with dyslexia to believe practicing on their skills will lead them to ‘extraordinary jobs’
‘It’s no secret that I struggled with my dyslexia as a child and often even wished it away,’ she said.
‘But now I see it as a tremendous gift and I want every dyslexic child to know that they too can tap into their dyslexic strengths,’ she added.
The royal began her early education at the independent Upton House School in Windsor, in 1991, before she and Princess Eugenie attended the independent Coworth Park School from 1995.
In 2000, Princess Beatrice went on to study at the independent St George’s School in Ascot until she graduated in 2007.
Princess Beatrice on her Dyslexia
In May 2020, Princess Beatrice opened about her dyslexia in a video for Made By Dyslexia.
The royal said she struggled at school, while her close friends appeared to be ‘so far ahead’, revealing: ‘I think at that stage, those moments of doubt just pop into your head. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough. Why am I not like the others?’
In the video clip, which was shared by the charity’s Youtube channel, she continued, ‘I think when you’re in the classroom, those moments are very defining.’
Speaking in the new video, she revealed: ‘I was very lucky, I got to go to a school that was very nurturing and very supportive, but I would describe the actual day-to-day learning side of things very challenging.’
Princess Beatrice went on to recall one particular memory from childhood, explaining: ‘We had different colored books to describe how far where your reading levels had got to and I was always on the white books.
‘My best friends were always on the yellow books or the green books. They were so far ahead.’
She said the experience led her to ‘doubt’ herself, adding: ‘I think if I were to say to my younger self do not be defined by those moments that happened to you in that exam or that classroom because they are lifelong learnings.
‘They are lessons that you carry with you, and they build you up to be who you are.’
She said: ‘I’m very lucky I’ve been able to find a job that relies on my communication skills, and not just sitting behind a desk.
‘A lot of my colleagues also have dyslexia because we work in a tech company that is always about looking at things different.
‘I think that’s one of the strengths we have as dyslexic is to look at things differently, be a problem solver, find new ways to do things, be experimental, entrepreneurial.’
She said: ‘It develops as you develop, it grows. It’s part of you, it’s part of how your brain develops.
‘It is not something that is wrong with you. It is a great part of how your brain works, and everybody’s brain works incredibly differently,’ she said. ‘There is nothing wrong, there is just everything that is so right.’
She is now Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy for software firm Afiniti.
Xtraordinary People highlights how dyslexic children see the world differently, which encourages them to think more creatively to solve problems.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.
It’s a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing.
Unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn’t affected.
It’s estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.
Signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write.
A person with dyslexia may:
- read and write very slowly
- confuse the order of letters in words
- put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
- have poor or inconsistent spelling
- understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
- find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
- struggle with planning and organisation
But people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving.
It identifies seven children’s archetypes to show how dyslexic children are hardwired to be good at certain skills due to their dyslexia.
The type include: Storytellers, Entertainers, Makers, Movers, Imaginers, ‘People’ people, and Questioners. Each are detailed characters, brought to life thanks to illustrations by Steven Woods.
Xtraordinary People supports Made by Dyslexia’s Connect the Spots campaign, which aims to train all 90 million teachers in the world within five years, using free video-based teacher training developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading schools for teaching dyslexic children, and supported by Microsoft.
Author of Xtraordinary People and founder of Made By Dyslexia Kate Griggs said: In an era of automation, where facts can be Googled; spelling, punctuation and grammar can be corrected at the touch of a button; it is creativity, imagination and intuition that sets dyslexics apart from the machines.
‘That’s why it is our mission at Made by Dyslexia to train every teacher to spot, support and empower every dyslexic child,’ she said.
‘Dyslexic thinkers are ready for the workplace of tomorrow, if we can reshape how we teach them today and remove the many unnecessary obstacles that hold a lot of people back,’ she added.
‘It is my hope that this book will be used to support teachers and parents, while inspiring a generation of “xtraordinary” children,’ she added.