This is a first for our Famous Dyslexics series on the Easyread blog… we are featuring a champion fencer! Molly Sliney fenced for the US Olympic Team in two Olympic games, and won gold at the 1987 and 1991 Pan American Games.


Molly Sliney struggled to read from an early age. In first grade, she hadn’t nailed down the alphabet, and in second grade she keenly remembers a humiliating experience at the school spelling bee.

So she decided to give up, assuming she must be stupid because she couldn’t keep up with her peers.

Then she found fencing.

At age 13, she was the youngest person ever to compete at the Junior World Championship. Her success with the sword allowed her to gain belief in herself, and by the time high school came around she was working hard at school again. She gained admittance to the prestigious Notre Dame University, and went on to set fencing records all over the world.

Now she spends most of her days as a speaker in school classrooms. She has one message she wants kids to grasp: never give up.

In a recent interview, she spoke about her dyslexia: “I truly don’t feel dyslexia is a disability. Someone asked if I wished I didn’t have dyslexia and it hit me – no – because it’s part of who I am. It gave me the ability to do amazing things. If I wasn’t dyslexic, I wouldn’t see things the way I do, have tenacity and work as hard. I look at it as an ability instead.”

Sarah Forrest is a Literacy Specialist for the Easyread System, an online program for children with reading difficulties, dyslexia, auditory processing issues and more. Get a free 10-day trial at