13-year-old boy has problems reading, which his teachers attribute to laziness. It is later discovered that he has Dyslexia.


(as Alex Grashoff)


(teleplay), (story)


Episode credited cast:
Miss Tomas
Brian Ellsworth
Judy Farrell ...
Barbara Ellsworth
Robby Ellsworth (as Leaf Phoenix)
Stephanie Evans ...
Sharon Anderson
Charles Theodore Bates III
Daniel Davies
Bo Kaprall ...
Walter Ellsworth
(as Shirley Venard-Diercks)
Jack Walsh
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


13-year-old boy has problems reading, which his teachers attribute to laziness. It is later discovered that he has Dyslexia.

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Release Date:

7 March 1984 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Powerful Film With Powerful Message
20 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia is a powerful film with a powerful message. As an elementary school teacher I have often turned to River Phoenix as the dyslexic Brian Ellsworth to help soothe troubled parents. It is a touching and tender film that treats a serious issue with great sensitivity.

What I love best about this movie is that I sometimes find myself laughing and crying at the same time. The interaction between Stephanie Evans as Kim Stone and Brian Ellsworth is after school comedy at its best. My students roared with delight when Stephanie aptly described the school lunch menu. "Some choice! Stew, glue, or garbage!" A classic after school line that will be remembered for ages.

This is also a fabulous film for fans of the Phoenix boys. To see them at this young age is quite a treat. Their prowess as actors was evident despite their youthful appearances. It is also the first in a long line of shining appearances for actress Stephanie Evans. Most will remember her for her work as a model in weekly print ads. My personal favorite is her work selling the "Big Button Phone." To conclude I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves high drama mixed with deep belly laughs. A must have for all educators and for fans of River and Leaf Phoenix.

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