Steven Spielberg

blog home

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at dyslexics who have excelled in various fields. So far we’ve looked at dyslexic writers, entrepreneurs, and even the famous polymath Leonardo da Vinci. This week we will be flying out to the land of botox and Brangelina – Hollywood!

Who is Steven Spielberg?

Steven Spielberg is an American filmmaker known for his work as a director, screenwriter and producer. He also co-founded the DreamWorks film studio.

Although Spielberg was born in 1946, his dyslexia was not diagnosed until 2007. He is one of the most successful and influential filmmakers in the world.

What is Steven Spielberg most famous for?

Spielberg’s most famous films include Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park – all of which broke box office records when they were released. Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director twice – first in 1993 for Schindler’s List, and later in 1998 for Saving Private Ryan. He also produced The Goonies, which was influenced, in part, by his childhood experience of feeling like an outsider because of his difficulties with reading.

How did Spielberg get into filmaking?

For Spielberg being diagnosed with dyslexia was the final ‘puzzle piece’ to a great mystery he had struggled with his whole life. At school his reading level was two years behind the rest of his classmates, and he used to dread being called on by his teachers in case he had to stand up in front of the class and read. Spielberg describes filmmaking as a way of dealing with being bullied, calling it his ‘great escape’. He made his first film, The Last Gunfight, in 1958 in order to earn a Boy Scout merit badge in photography; and two years later he won a prize for making a 40-minute long film about a battle in East Africa. At the age of sixteen, Spielberg wrote and directed a 140-minute long film called Firelight, which would later inspire his film Close Encounters.

What does Steven Spielberg have to say to other dyslexics?

“It is more common than you ever could imagine. You’re not alone. There are ways to accelerate your reading skills, to accelerate your comprehension. There are ways to deal with it. It’s not an incurable thing – it’s something you’re going to have for the rest of your life, but you can dart between the rain drops to get where you want to go. It will not hold you back.”

Who are some other filmmakers with dyslexia?

Some other dyslexics in the film industry are: Walt Disney, Robert Benton, Nicole Betancourt, and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen.

Are you dyslexic? Do you see dyslexia as a hindrance or a gift – or both? Is there anyone you would like to read a post about, or do you have any suggestions for future posts? Feel free to get in touch via Twitter (@Spellzone) or on our Facebook page – we love to chat!

Avani Shah


10 Jun 2013
blog home

"Spellzone really is an incredibly simple, engaging and cost effective resource - it makes a big difference to literacy levels."

Millthorpe School, York