Paul contacted Read Easy in February 2021. COVID had been a turning point, putting his life in to sharp focus and making him think about what he wanted to change. Paul’s daughter had recently started secondary school and he really wanted to be able to read her school reports without relying on others. According to Paul ‘If I could do this for myself it shows my daughter that you can do anything in life if you try.’
Paul’s problems started at school. He was moved to the back of the class as he was struggling and didn’t receive any support to improve his reading. The next step was to transfer him to a special school, which Paul thinks could have been avoided. ‘If I had been given the help I have now when I was in school I would have been OK. I wasn’t very good at reading and they didn’t have the time to help me’.
Once in special education, Paul didn’t follow the mainstream curriculum, focusing instead on vocational skills like computer skills, mechanics and cooking. Reading and writing weren’t prioritised and so there was no way he would ever catch up.
Paul now works in maintenance for a coffee manufacturer. Although his employer has been very accommodating, and his colleagues help him out by reading things for him and replying to emails, he would like to be able to reach a point where he was more independent and could read manuals without relying on picture instructions.
Paul was in his late 40s before reaching out for help with his reading and until this point he found ways to navigate life without being able to read. ‘I relied on my other skills’ says Paul. ‘I would listen really well and memorise everything to compensate for not being able to read the information. I have relied on my wife to read letters and other important information to me’.
Paul has never been afraid of asking for help, although for a long time he did feel ashamed of not being able to read. It wasn’t until Paul started the Read Easy programme that his father admitted to him for the first time that he also has problems with reading.
Paul’s main goal is to pass his English GCSE, as he left school without any qualifications. He is now working with his Read Easy coach towards achieving this milestone. He has been learning to read with Read Easy, following the ‘Turning Pages’ adult reading programme, for the last six months. According to Paul ‘It’s going really well – I can read and understand a lot more already’.
Paul says, ‘Reaching out is the toughest part of the process – admitting that you can’t read and that you need help. It’s hard facing up to the problem if you’ve hidden from it all your life. You have to want the help, but once you’ve made that jump it’s the best thing you’ll ever do’.
"It’s hard facing up to the problem if you’ve hidden from it all your life. You have to want the help, but once you’ve made that jump it’s the best thing you’ll ever do."Paul - Reader, Read Easy Basingstoke