Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 21:24 UK

Happy Days TV hero meets pupils

Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler said his teachers did not know what dyslexia was

The television character The Fonz from the 70s US sitcom Happy Days has been talking with schoolchildren in Southampton about his dyslexia.

Henry Winkler, who became a star as Arthur Fonzarelli, charmed youngsters at Foundry Lane Primary School talking about how he dealt with his dyslexia.

His visit was set up by First News, a children's newspaper holding a tour for the 2008 National Year of Reading.

Mr Winkler, now in his 60s, has co-written 15 books.

Just because we learn differently, that does not mean that we are not incredibly smart human beings
Henry Winkler

When he arrived at the school on Wednesday, he also read from one of his series of Hank Zipzer children's novels, which are based on his experiences growing up with an undiagnosed condition.

"The children have to know that if I can do it, they can do it," he said.

"That you need to focus, you need tenacity, preparation - you just do the best you can."

The cast of Happy Days
The Fonz, centre, in Happy Days

"Teachers didn't know what dyslexia was at that time. So I was labelled a trouble maker," he added.

"I was the class clown. I got a bad grade in everything but lunch. I was great at lunch."

Mr Winkler was recently guest of honour at a special birthday party organised by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

The event, at St Matthew's Church of England School in Westminster, was organised to celebrate his department's first anniversary.

"Just because we learn differently, that does not mean that we are not incredibly smart human beings," said Mr Winkler.

"That's something I need every child to understand." The First News tour is being held for two weeks this month.


SEE ALSO
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