“Everybody Has A Strength”

Bemis Elementary 5th-grader Ayla Tovar is a dyslexic learner.

And she just won a writing award!

According to her mother, Amanda, Ayla’s brain processes information in different ways than regular students; mixed up letters, words moving or blurry, occasional omitted letters and in some cases, backwards letters.

But none of that stopped her from winning honors in the Karina Eide Young Writers Awards supported by Dyslexic Advantage and The Writers Studio.

“Because this contest was open to dyslexic learners, they were allowed to dictate their stories,” said Amanda.

“I got worried that I wouldn’t spell a lot of the stuff correctly, so my mom helped me,” explained Ayla. “She typed what I said.”

Ayla continued, “Sometimes when I’m reading or writing, the words will appear backwards or my b’s and d’s will get mixed up.”

“Her creative mind struggles to get her thoughts out on paper,” said Amanda.

She is very creative.

“My story is about four girls that go on an adventure,” Ayla said. “I like fairy tales, so I chose to combine mermaids and fairies.”

Her winning short story is called The Charm (see below).

“Ayla’s had to overcome a lot,” said her father, Alex. “We tell her she just has a different way of learning than other kids. ‘Just do your best and we’ll always be here to support you,’” he said.

In some ways, Ayla takes it all in stride. “It’s not really that big of a deal,” she explained.

“I love to act and I’ve been doing it since I was in kindergarten. So everybody has a strength; you just might not have found it yet,” Ayla concluded.

The Charm

If I told you a story, would you believe it?

You may think it is a dream but to me and my sisters it’s real. It all started last summer when we were camping at Sequins Falls. It was a hot summer day and my sisters and I were campingwith our parents. We spent the day at the lake, swimming, building sand castles, playing volleyball and going on kayaks. That night, we were exhausted.

While laying in our beds in the camper, we heard a funny noise. It sounded like splish spash, click clack, flutter flutter. We all sprung up from the bed and were wondering what that sound was. We decided to go investigate. We put on our shoes, jackets and grabbed our flashlights. We quietly opened the door.

Creak went the camper door. We looked to see if our parents had wakened and luckily they didn’t hear it. As we started walking into the woods to get the beach, the noise became louder and louder and louder. We came across a old broken bridge. There was no way to get across. Suddenly we saw a glowing light and hundreds of little lights flying towards us.

My little sisters and I were super scared as the tiny lights got closer. Finally we could see what they were, Fairies! The fairies carried us across the broken old bridge then scattered off into the night.

My little sisters flashlight went out, flicker flicker. They screamed until they realized it was the flashlight going out. We came to the beach and took our shoes off to walk in the sand. We each took two steps into the water and something rubbed across our feet. We screamed and then our feet started to disappear, Oh my gosh!!! Our feet vanished and in it’s place was a mermaid tale.

A mother mermaid came calling us to come with her. Her baby mermaid was trapped and she needed our help. The baby mermaid was trapped under a log and could not get free. We worked together to push the log, and got the baby  out but the baby mermaids tale was bruised. She was unable  to move it. We looked for seaweed to use as a cast. We wrapped it around the tale and then it fell off and the tail was all better.

In return for helping her baby, the mother gave each of us a bracelet with a little mermaid charm. We each touched our charm and found ourselves in our beds again. I was the first to wake up and look around. Perhaps it was just a dream I thought. Then I looked at my wrist and the bracelet was still there.

Maybe it wasn’t a dream, I can’t remember. I woke my sisters up to see if they had the same dream and they each were wearing a bracelet like mine. On the back of each bracelet we read  “You are always welcome back, just touch the charm three times to return.”

What does that mean? It will have to remain a mystery…

for now.

Until the next adventure…