Jay Blades, who is best known as the presenter of The Repair Shop, made a BBC documentary in 2021 which followed his journey as he faced up to the challenge of learning to read as an adult. With the support of Read Easy and his Read Easy Reading Coach, Jay was able to overcome his challenges with reading and this inspiring documentary has allowed Jay to share his experience with others.
Jay concealed his inability to read until he was in his 30s, after he struggled to learn to read as a child. Jay is not alone – a quarter of all children in England leave primary school (1), like Jay, unable to read to the expected level. Nearly seven million adults in the UK have very poor literacy skills (2). Many are too ashamed or embarrassed to come forward and ask for help.
In the programme Jay meets other people who are on the same journey – like Jacky who has just started to learn to read with Read Easy in her 60s. Her main motivation is being able to read with her 7-year-old granddaughter and help her sister who is now partially sighted.
Jay also met Read Easy Reader, Jeff, who says, ‘‘The most important thing for me is to be able to read stories to my son who has just started school. That’s my goal. I’d also like to be able to understand more in work, and have other options career-wise for the future. Reading will open those doors for me. If I have a chance of something better I’m going to take it”.
Following the programme, hundreds of people got involved with Read Easy UK either by joining existing groups, or Pioneering new groups in their local communities. We were also contacted by hundreds of people who were looking for reading support, either for themselves, or loved ones.
You can watch Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51 on iPlayer and via the BBC website
"On this journey I’ll be meeting people who can’t read, for whatever reason, and hopefully helping them. I’d love this film to inspire the millions of other adults in the same situation as me."Jay Blades