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Lake Break

The Word Gobblers, Winter 2020

As much as I was enjoying my 55x55 project, I was excited to get a break from creating Wallowa Lake scenes (and help pay the bills) with a very fun assignment from Catherine Matthias.

Millions of children and adults around the world cope with reading, writing, or depth perception problems, such as dyslexia. For one in every six, this problem is a result of a condition called Irlen Syndrome – the inability of the brain to process certain light waves or colors.

Catherine had an interesting path that led her to writing The Word Gobblers: a handbook for parents working with children struggling to read.* She has written many children's books and wanted to help parents understand how their children may be seeing words on a page – there are so many different ways this syndrome can mess around with words. Catherine came up with the brilliant idea of having mischievous, but good natured, little critters (resembling multi-colored pandas with wild hair) messing with the text from The Three Little Pigs. Square One Publishing out of New York picked it up and I got the fun task of making these critters misbehave! Below are some of my favorites. The book hit the shelves March 2021 (cover design by Jeannie Rosado).

For more information on Irlen Syndrome go to:

For more information of Catherine Matthias go to:

To buy this book from Barnes & Noble, click here


*Excerpt from The Word Gobblers introduction:

I’d first heard of Irlen Syndrome and the Irlen Institute while having lunch with a friend, a retired college counselor. I was lamenting the difficulties my two oldest grandchildren had with reading in spite of years of remedial help. They were both bright, with vocabularies beyond their years, engaging, and involved with the world around them, but their struggles were having repercussions on all aspects of their lives.

My friend asked if I’d ever heard of Irlen Syndrome. I hadn’t. She told me about a student she’d helped by introducing her to colored overlays. That night I stayed up reading the Irlen Institute’s website and ordering all the books they offered. I was perplexed. Why hadn’t I learned of this sooner? Why wasn’t this breakthrough not being shouted from the rooftops? In Australia, every school-aged child is tested for Irlen Syndrome. Why wasn’t this happening in the US? Why wasn’t this happening in every country?

Catherine Matthias

Certified Irlen Screener


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