Former Happy Days actor Henry Winkler joined Schools Secretary Ed Balls to launch the First News Reading Tour, a new initiative as part of The National Year of Reading, to encourage children to read. Henry, better known as The Fonz, visited a London school, where he read excerpts from his series of Hank Zipzer books. Apart from being an actor, Henry Winkler is also a talented and accomplished children’s author. During the visit, Henry revealed his struggle with dyslexia, saying it was particularly difficult for him as a child, as teachers didn’t know what dyslexia was at that time and dismissed him as being stupid and lazy. Obviously this is devastating for a child’s confidence and self-image. Henry stressed the importance of every child understanding that just because they learn differently, doesn’t mean they aren’t “incredibly smart”. He drew upon his experiences to write the Hank Zipzer books which feature a 10 year old boy who has dyslexia. Henry said that at least nowadays there are teachers who understand that some children learn differently and can give them the help and support they need.
Henry also revealed the “big problem” he had experienced reading scripts and revealed he had discovered ways of working around it and just had to work that little bit harder. Happy Days was one of my favourite shows and I loved the character of The Fonz. I always thought Henry Winkler played the role really well and was a really good comedy actor. Schools Secretary Ed Balls said he was delighted that Henry Winkler was supporting the National Year of Reading. He said that the sooner we can get children into reading, the more they would benefit.