“I didn’t like school. In my first year I would ask to go to the toilet and then escape – running over two fields and waiting until my mum spotted me sitting at the top of the garden.” As I got older I somehow managed to get through without anyone thinking I was struggling. When I went to the library with friends, I would always choose a book for my age or older, but I knew that I would never read it. In the summer holidays before I went to secondary school I knew I had to learn my address, so I practised everyday so I didn’t look silly.
Secondary school was ok. I was below average, but because I was quiet and my handwriting was neat I seemed to get away with it and I could understand enough to wing it. Exams were a nightmare. Reading the question is everything, and if you read it incorrectly, you might as well not bother at all.
My grandad came round every Sunday and made me write my name ten times to make sure my handwriting was neat. I wish he had asked me to read to him instead.
Last year, I thought enough was enough and decided to improve my reading. I went to the council offices and was given the number for Read Easy North Cotswolds. I contacted the Coordinator, Nick and we had a meeting. I was very nervous but it was the best thing I’ve done. I knew I could get by, but that was not enough. I wanted to change my job and my reading and spelling was holding me back.
Nick was kind and agreed to introduce me to Gillian, who was to be my Reading Coach. She was like Mary Berry and wouldn’t let me get away with anything. She was the perfect tutor for me. She knew just when to push me. We met for two half hours every week, starting from the beginning with phonics sounds then on to poetry and short stories. I always looked forward to my sessions but was so tired by the end! I would come out of the library reading everything I could – road signs, street signs. I even started to read the dictionary – who knew there were so many words!?
I found myself gaining confidence and started walking into the library and asking the ladies to help me find books. Some of the books are too hard for me, but I will still give them a try. My favourite book so far is ‘The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me’ by Roald Dahl, and I like the Shetland books, which are good crime stories. I actually enjoy reading now and it has really helped me with my writing. I am also trying to develop my words, so that I don’t use the same ones all of the time.
My husband can’t get over it – he’s really proud. We can now share ideas, and after years of not being able to read to my children at school, the boys are also really proud. One of my sons is in IT, and in return for sometimes helping to clean his room, he is going to teach me computer skills! I am now also finally happy to answer the phone at work – something I used to dread in the past in case I had to take down an address or contact details.
I can’t tell you how much this year has given me, and hopefully I can start to look for a new job.”
"My husband can't get over it - he's really proud. We can now share ideas, and after years of not being able to read to my children, the boys are also really proud."Emma - Reader, Read Easy North Cotswolds