‘In the past, I did everything I could to hide the fact that I couldn’t read. I dreaded people finding out and was so embarrassed. I think I just missed out learning at the right time when I was at school and I never caught up. When my own children were little, it broke my heart that I couldn’t read them stories at bedtime.
‘Not being able to read has a terrible effect on you. It’s so difficult to cope with the ordinary things in life. It’s as if a part of you is missing somehow and you can’t be involved in things properly. You feel worthless and as if you don’t have a right to have an opinion about things.
‘I’d tried learning to read as an adult before, but I never seemed to get it. In the end, I thought I must just be stupid.
‘Then I heard about Read Easy and thought I’d have one more try. I decided not to tell anyone this time – I even kept it a secret from my husband and children – I wanted to surprise them.
‘Sheila, my coach, has been brilliant. Really patient and encouraging. But even so, I still nearly gave up again at the beginning. Then I thought to myself that I’d just got to be determined if I really wanted to succeed. So I kept going and Sheila encouraged me. Now I’m amazed that I’ve done it! It’s a brilliant feeling! There are so many things I can do now that I never dreamt I’d be able to.
‘And I did surprise my family. I got a tin out of the cupboard the other day and asked my daughter to pass me my glasses so I could read the label. She said to me, “Mum, are you READING?” And I said, “Of course, I am, I’ve always been able to!!” You should have seen her face! It’s good, too, because I’m not feeding them on Winalot any more!
‘Now I’ve got plans of lots of other things I want to do. I’m carrying on reading books from the library with Sheila at the moment and I want to do a course to learn to use computers soon. But best of all is the precious time I can spend reading stories to my little granddaughter.
‘I also really want to encourage other people who struggle with reading to take up this opportunity. The first step is scary – but the change is amazing. It’s really transformed my life.’