Marjorie has written her own story about learning to read with the support of Dot, her reading coach (shown here in the white blouse, Marjorie in blue). Here it is, in her own words:
“I am now 71 years old, and all my adult life has been blighted by embarrassment at being a very poor reader. As a child I suffered a great deal of illness, and as a consequence my schooling was very much interrupted. My mother was having to manage three children without help as my father had left her, so had no spare time to help or encourage me…no bedtime stories!
Being poor at reading is a constant worry, affecting everything you do. Things like hospital appointments mean that you must have someone with you in case forms are to be filled in. If, like me, you are a churchgoer, you miss out on being able to read in public, and it hurts. I did some voluntary work at our local hospital, taking patients from the wards to the chapel by wheelchair: that was great, until one day, out of the blue, I was asked to sit at the entrance, and take peoples’ names when they came in, and, knowing I couldn’t spell even common names I had to say I’m sorry, but not this time!
The chaplain there became a good friend, and when he left, he and his wife agreed to keep in touch…and of course, a letter arrived, which needed to be answered. They still, after 20 years have never seen my handwriting! I tell my daughter what to write, and she types it for me.
Help was at hand. One day I saw a Read Easy notice at a local community centre asking Do you want to learn to read, or improve your reading? and I wanted it so much, even at 71, that I found myself inside. I had a very friendly reception, my details were taken, and after a short while a friendly phone call to arrange a plan.
Now, I’m having 2 lessons a week with my own personal coach, and we are, after about 6 months, coming to the end of ‘the book’. I still intend to go on and learn more. I am already reading books from the library, and any words which still baffle me (and there are not many) I write down, and coach and I work it out together. I got really stuck on hieroglyphics but supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is dead easy!! So, if you have a problem with reading, whether you are old or young, do join up with Read Easy and you will find a whole new world out there”.