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MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle Was Diagnosed with Dyslexia Only 10 Years Ago After Childhood Comprehension Struggles

The '11th Hour' host revealed how she juggles the learning disorder with her job as a TV anchor

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images</p> Stephanie Ruhle attends the "Mostly What God Does" book presentation on February 21, 2024 in New York City

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Stephanie Ruhle attends the "Mostly What God Does" book presentation on February 21, 2024 in New York City

After penning a candid letter revealing her life-long experience with dyslexia, MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle is opening the lid on the learning disorder.

“I cannot believe I’m here talking about this. I can’t,” Ruhle said as she began her candid conversation with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on the Today show on Wednesday. “This was never my plan.”

Earlier this month, the host of The 11th Hour shared a message on Instagram to all the “fellow dyslexic” students “out there hating school.” The encouraging post marked her first time openly sharing her diagnosis of dyslexia, which the Mayo Clinic defines as a “learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words.”


Describing her thought process before sharing the post, Ruhle, 48, recalled, “I was on a flight for a work trip and trying to read the same book I put in my backpack for every flight and I couldn’t get through the book. And I’m looking out the window, and I’m thinking about my son, who’s also dyslexic. And I’m thinking, he is sitting in class right now, hating life, hating his teacher, can’t get through it. And I said, sometimes he reads my post — I’m just gonna write this.”

Related: Henry Winkler Struggled with Lines as the Fonz, Felt 'So F---ing' Angry After Dyslexia Diagnosis (Exclusive)

“The flight lands and my phone was blowing up with people from all walks of life saying, ‘That’s me. That’s my daughter. That’s my brother,’” she continued, “And I also wrote it because there I was, having years of hating school, going on a work trip to cover the NBA All-Star Weekend, my dream job.”

The NBC News senior business analyst then shared a message for all those in school right now who relate to her experiences.

“I just wanna say — school does end. School is for linear thinkers, and the world can’t wait to meet you, but you’ve gotta get through school,” she said. “Because that’s the thing – many, many of us think, ‘I’m not a student, I’m gonna give up.’ And I’m just saying, ‘Hang on, life awaits.’”

Ruhle also revealed that she was only diagnosed with dyslexia 10 years ago, thanks to her older son’s “amazing teacher.”

“It wasn’t until my son, my oldest son, I saw him go from this outgoing, confident kid, he just couldn’t learn to read. And his younger brother was finishing his stories for him,” she shared. “And when they told him he was dyslexic, I thought, ‘This is everything I have.’”

The journalist recalled how when she was a child, "people actually thought I was a super reader" because she could "memorize words." Her ability to recite poems and short stories from a young age led to her starting school early, but problems arose in second and third grade "when comprehension starts."

"When the more complicated stories have to get in your head, that's when you start hustling and kind of cheating," she said. "That's when you're negotiating with teachers to say, 'How about an extra credit project?' 'How about a presentation?' because you can't get through. And I always thought, I don't love pages, I love people. I'm not a student, I can't wait for work."

However, once she entered the workforce, she didn't have "the fundamental things" or the "building blocks" she needed until now.

<p>Stephanie Ruhle/Instagram</p> Stephanie Ruhle opens up about dyslexia journey on Instagram

Stephanie Ruhle/Instagram

Stephanie Ruhle opens up about dyslexia journey on Instagram

Speaking to how she makes her job as a TV news anchor work, she said index cards and a Sharpie are her "lifeline."

"For me, it doesn't matter what the subject is. A lot of people say, 'Oh, I don't understand business,'" she said. "I don't have reading comprehension for anything. But I can take a dense subject and I make an outline, and a shorter outline, and a shorter outline. And then that prompter, for me, is not a roadmap. It's just a safety net."

Related: Princess Beatrice Says She and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi Will Be 'Grateful' to Guide Their Kids If They Have Dyslexia Too

In the original post, Ruhle wrote, “I totally get it. School sucks. Paying attention is impossible. No matter how many times you read the words on the page, they don’t seem to interact with your brain.”

“Here’s the good news. You won’t be in school forever,” she continued. “Your creative mind, unconventional instincts & high eiq will serve you well in the long run. But in order to play the long game, you’ve gotta stay in the game! Take a breath. Take a walk. Don’t fight the system. Don’t cheat (it’s just not worth it).”

“I promise, school eventually ends & when it does, calculus & physics need not be in your next chapter,” she added. “And the real world can’t wait for you to unleash your awesomeness.”

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She signed the note, “Cliffs notes using, cheat sheet making, detention dominating, ‘needs to improve self-disicpline’ on every report card getting…formerly frustrated, fellow dyslexia, - Steph Rule xoxoxo ❤️💋❤️.”

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