What did Jack Horner explain to win first prize at the State Fair?

What did Jack Horner discover about dinosaurs?

How did Jack Horner’s dyslexia help him succeed?

Jack Horner

A different kind of smart

Jack Horner is a famous scientist who studies dinosaurs. When Jack was a young boy, he loved to hunt for dinosaur bones alone. Why alone? Jack was shy and he did not have many friends.

In school, Jack wasn’t good at reading, writing, or math. “Other kids called me dumb,” says Jack. “Some grown-ups thought I wasn’t smart.” But Jack is smart. He can do things that other people cannot do. Jack is a different kind of smart.

Jack always liked to build things. His mother could see that he was good at putting things together. She asked Jack to build more things, and he did.

By the time Jack was in high school, he still had trouble learning. But he was winning prizes at science fairs for the things that he made. At the State Fair, he explained about dinosaur bones, and he won first prize! A judge at the fair told Jack, “I teach at a college. I think you should go to college.” And Jack did.

But trying to learn things in college was like trying to learn things in high school — still hard. Jack did not pass many of his classes. He left college to fight as a soldier in the war in Vietnam.

When Jack returned to college, a teacher helped him. Even with the teacher’s help, Jack did not want to finish college. But he knew what he did want to do — study dinosaurs! Jack found a job at a museum where people studied dinosaurs.

That’s when Jack found out that his learning problem had a name. It’s called dyslexia. People with dyslexia can learn to read, but they must learn to read in a different way. They must learn to think and solve problems in different ways, also. Thinking and solving problems differently helped to make Jack successful! “I know what I can do and what I can’t do,” Jack says.  “For the things I can’t do, I find someone to help me.” 

Jack has made many important discoveries about dinosaurs. He discovered that some dinosaurs built nests, laid eggs, and took care of their young.

Have you ever seen movies about Jurassic Park? Those movies are about dinosaurs. Jack Horner helped to make those movies. While Jack worked on the movies, he got an idea. Maybe I can make a real dinosaur! he thought. Jack wrote a book called How to Build a Dinosaur. How will he do it? He plans to turn a chicken into a dinosaur!  He will call it a “chickenosaurus”.

Jack tells people, “My dyslexia helped me to succeed! I want  others to see that there are different kinds of smart.”

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