Andrew Davis, anthology Editor of the book Dyslexia: Developing the Debate, talks about the debate over the term Dyslexia: An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Andrew Davis, anthology Editor of the book Dyslexia: Developing the Debate, talks about the debate over the term Dyslexia: An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

In this interview Andrew Davis, the Anthology Editor of the book Dyslexia: Developing the Debate talks about this book and the lively debate between authors Julian Elliott and Rod Nicolson concerning the nature of Dyslexia. These excerpts from the book will give my readers some idea of the exchange between the two authors and what they will find in the book.  

First this from page one, written by Andrew Davis whose role was to referee the lively exchanges in this book.

Now this from Nicholson on page 113:

Nicholson goes on to summarize what he says are the areas of agreement and disagreement between himself and Elliot in this chart page 120 of the book.

In addition to talking about this book, Andrew also talks about a variety of things, including his recently published Young Adult Science Fiction book Neuralnet’s Children.

Here is Andrew’s Biography:

Dr. Andrew Davis is a former primary teacher who lectured in philosophy of education and mathematics education in both Cambridge and Durham Universities. At Durham University, he directed the PGCE Primary course and the primary mathematics provision. He has taught students of all ages from 3 to 93. Among other things, he has published academic books and articles, textbooks, newspaper articles, magazine series, short stories for children and computer software. His research interests include educational assessment and the teaching of reading. A few years ago, there was widespread media coverage of his short book To Read or not to Read: Decoding Synthetic Phonics. Neuralnet’s Children is his first novel.

Here are the talking points covered in Andrew’s YouTube interview. They are time-stamped to help you locate the topics of most interest.

Andrew’s Books

“Dyslexia: Developing the Debate’ – Elliott, Nicolson and Davis

“To read or not to read: decoding synthetic phonics”. Free download from

“A Critique of Pure Teaching Methods and the Case of Synthetic Phonics”

And my Young Adult Science Fiction “Neuralnet’s Children” published June 2022

Reflections about Andrew’s book. As indicated in the biography, Andrew’s book caused quite a stir when it was published in 2016. It provides an in-depth look at the issues surrounding the use of the term Dyslexia as a diagnosis. It takes care to look at all sides of this issue. My take is as follows: on the one hand, there is no question that Dyslexia is real; it exists. On the other hand, there are children with reading difficulties who are not Dyslexic. Those children will not necessarily benefit from the kind of instruction that benefits those with Dyslexia. There is a real need for careful study of who those children are and for more reliable screening instruments for Dyslexia that differentiate in a way that allows us to identify those children. Otherwise, we run the risk of wasting a large number of resources by giving some children instruction that doesn’t really fit their needs. My mantra remains to use ALL the research and help ALL the children as we move forward with improving our literacy instruction.


I will have a busy time in the next month or so. I’ll be interviewing Jordan G. Page, Elementary Literacy Consultant and founder of Page-by-Page Literacy LLC.  She will be talking about her work with younger readers. I will also be interviewing Eric Litwin, a well-known children’s author and co-author of the book The Power of Joyful Reading LINK. In addition, I also have upcoming presentations at Write to Learn LINK, Missouri Early Childhood Conference LINK, and I’ll be doing a webinar for Pioneer Books LINK. Busy times!

Copyright 2023 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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