Alison from Winchester was fifty when she contacted Read Easy for help with learning to read. A wife, mother and grandmother, she had struggled to learn to read at school, and had left education with very few literacy skills.
Resigned to the fact she would never be able to read, she worked as a carer, despite the fact that she had always dreamed of becoming a nurse. She has always felt a great frustration that her lack of reading ability meant that she was never able to ‘follow her dreams’ and pursue her career of choice.
She thought she would learn alongside her own children when they went to school, but unfortunately this didn’t happen.
As technology advanced, Alison started to realise that life was getting increasingly hard. She saw that insurance companies that once asked you questions over the phone when renewing your policy, were now asking you to complete your own forms online, and that even going to the doctor was difficult, as you needed to be able to read in order to check in for your appointment on a keypad. She eventually decided to contact her local group – Read Easy Winchester, for support.
As Alison herself says:
“The biggest step I ever took was making the phone call. I doubted myself along the way BUT every week I was learning all the time without realising it. What may seem small to other people was a huge achievement and a big challenge to me. Both coach and student turning up every week was very important because you are both putting a huge commitment into this. It built a bond of trust and it was a pleasure to work on the project together. We both got a huge amount out of it.
Since learning to read, I have gained the confidence to read in public and ask questions. In restaurants, I can make my own choices and not have to copy someone else’s. I have felt brave enough to go to crochet classes and I have made a memory quilt for my grandson.
Reading is finally a pleasure and not a nightmare. The first book I read for pleasure was The Enchanted Chair by Enid Blyton. Whilst it was wonderful to read, it also left me with a huge sadness, as I realised that not being able to read had meant I had missed out on a large part of my childhood.
My favourite book at the moment is ‘ The Cotton Mill Ghost’ because when I read it I felt proper chills! It came alive for me while I was reading it and I felt like I was in the story. I’ve never experienced that before.”
"Since learning to read, I have gained the confidence to read in public and ask questions. In restaurants, I can make my own choices and not have to copy someone else's."Alison - Reader, Read Easy Winchester