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Cher is an American singer and actress perhaps best known for her iconic appearance. She won an Academy Award for her role in the film Moonstruck and has released many best-selling singles over the years, especially in the partnership Sonny & Cher.

And she is dyslexic.

2011-cher-400Cher (full name Cherilyn Sarkisian) was born in 1946 in California. Her mother was a struggling actress who at times had to give up Cher into foster care when she couldn’t provide sufficiently for her daughter’s needs.

From an early age Cher struggled in school.

“I never read in school,” Cher said in an interview. “I got really bad grades, D’s and F’s and C’s in some classes, and A’s and B’s in other classes.”

When her mother remarried, her adoptive father enrolled Cher in a private school where the environment was very different from what she was used to, with a demographic of mostly wealthy students. A former classmate commented, “I’ll never forget seeing Cher for the first time. She was so special … She was like a movie star, right then and there … She said she was going to be a movie star and we knew she would.”

However, she continued to struggle despite her intelligence and natural flair for creativity. She did manage to earn good grades, excelling in French and English classes especially.

Cher has commented on her time in high school, saying, “in the second week of the 11th grade, I just quit. When I was in school, it was really difficult. Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards always said that I was not living up to my potential.”

She was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 30s, though she has said that she finds it easy to cope now. She always reads her scripts slowly at first and then is able to memorize her lines quickly without a problem.


Sarah Forrest is a Reading Specialist for the Easyread System, an online course dedicated to helping struggling learners catch up with their reading using an innovative visual approach to phonics.