Learning to read again after a near-fatal stroke
Every person learning to read has their own story and Read Easy’s approach is to support the individual, whatever stage they are at on their journey.
As Vee Driscoll, the Coordinator for Read Easy Bridport writes: “Read Easy works well, because we are inclusive and open-minded and not afraid of a challenge. Our readers don’t fall into a pattern and that’s exactly why we offer one-to-one sessions – we have to think outside the box!……There is no magic formula and every individual’s needs are different, regardless of the reasons why they seek our help”.
Val came to Read Easy after a severe stroke on New Year’s morning, after which she found she could not read. After six sessions of Speech Therapy, Val was put in touch with Read Easy Bridport. They matched her with Melodie Watts, the Reading Coach, who was to work alongside Val for the next eight months.
The outcome was very positive. Val found the phonics approach quite difficult to begin with, but then it actually helped her to slow down and decode words she got stuck on. Smaller words were often the most difficult. One of the side effects of the stroke was that Val would articulate a word which she knew was wrong, such as ‘cat’ instead of ‘dog’, so reading in context was really important.
In the early stages, the Reading Coach spent a short time on the main teaching tool, Yes We Can Read, at each coaching session, incorporating lots of additional resources and games, followed by reading a book. Gatehouse publications were invaluable and Val enjoyed being able to read each book from start to finish. This helped to build up her confidence and make sense of what she was reading.
Val was very determined to get her reading fluency back and was hugely supported by her husband, who read with her every day. There were days when she was extremely tired and unable to focus, so Melodie recognised this and shortened the session when necessary.
Christian Tyler, Chair of Read Easy Bridport, wrote an article on this remarkable story of courage and perseverance for the Bridport News, which you can read in full here.