Language in word form. Understand it? Are you a bookworm by nature ?
We're all a bit hit and miss with reading. Sometimes the kids and I read the same page over and over again. Eyes are busy moving from side to side whilst the brain is in the cake shop, "I really fancy a muffin, now", I'm thinking as I'm reading an official letter. See what I mean? My brain wanders all over the place.
I instinctively pick out the bits that I fancy. Of course I get it wrong all the time and never seem to learn this lesson. Only today I got my eldest son’s appointment time wrong, I was only an hour out but still it led to mass panic and alterations, WHY? I hadn’t read the letter properly and therefore had guessed it.
There are books and books, some are jelibean-friendly and others are simply not. Do you check the print first? I know I do. Big print is good, tiny print and a lot of words all on one page is BAD and visually boring. Gaps and good old fashioned English is what’s needed. Headings and signposts are what we love. A book or written document is like a journey in itself, it has a beginning, a middle and an end and that is where the problem lies as I see it. SEQUENCING again, and it's oh so hard.
Words are intimidating especially for those of us who suffer dyslexia in whatever form, and I show signs of it myself although it has never interfered with my life until now.Do you get scared to even start reading? It all looks so very complicated before you even open the book or the letter? How many have stuffed them into drawers or maybe under the sofa or even the bin? Hands up all of you. I thought so. There are an awful lot of hands up :)
Words fragment themselves like biscuit crumbs. Some of them stick to the page so you can’t ignore them but others just crumble away and even become invisible and you brush them to one side. I knew my son’s appointment was eleven am, so how did it change to ten am? When we can’t be bothered to read something, we’ll make it up, guesswork is a hell of a risky business, can you really trust yourself to get it right.
Do words jump out at you and dance all over the page like a performance of Grease? It’s much more interesting to watch Grease than read red tape or worse still the credit card bill. When you get the nasty letter, it only goes further to remind you that if you had watched less and concentrated more you wouldn’t be in this position.
Jelibeans are great at dancing with their eyes. Can you read in lines? I have real difficulty, I lose my way all over the page. I get to the end of the line and jump a couple even now. Horoscopes are a nightmare for me and I do want to read them. Don’t be ashamed to use a ruler to guide you or a finger is good as well.
Coloured lenses in spectacles can help with some forms of eye-dancing and dyslexia. Results can be instant and amazing to some sufferers. And you don’t even need to go to the expense of going to an optician. You can buy really cheap sunglasses, and try them all to see which colour lens makes the words stop whizzing all over the place. Try it!
When you and your jelibeans have a choice in reading, pick carefully.
Start with big cardboard and rag books, big letters and lovely bright colours. Get them into the habit of holding a book and wanting to look at the page. One apple on a page is boring all the time, choose some lovely pages that they will be eager to look at.
Some of us can be very slow readers, I didn’t read until I was 6, not at all. Suddenly, literally overnight, I just read. Just as if the skill had magically shot into my head. My kids have always been on the slower side and even now aren’t compulsive readers. It’s not that we don’t like reading, we just have trouble finding reading matter that interests us.
Factual stuff is great, we love to know about everyone else’s lives, ours are usually so complex, it’s often a relief to read so-called ‘celebrity’ autobiographies, encyclopaedias, and as for the Guinness book of Records, that is a Christmas Must Have! Who has the longest fingernails yuk, who is the fattest yuk, yuk, but we have this fascination with it all the same. We adore books of lists.
But the secret of enjoyment in reading depends on what your child's special interest might be. Then, you won't be able to stop them reading up about it, or surfing the internet non-stop. Yes, don't forget, they're reading while they're on the computer, aren't they? My eldest son can tell you how many Siberian tigers there are left in the world, recount every mountain range and seas in the universe, yep I mean the moon as well! My younger kids feast themselves on technical bike and car books. How many cylinders, spoilers and alloys can there be? So you see it’s horses for courses, find your comfort zone and stick with it.
Magazines and comics are great for jelibeans, colourful and interesting allowing plenty of time for eye dances. Dip in dip out, that's what we like best. Of course that doesn’t exempt us from books, but it does show us we have to be selective in what we read. Choose wisely, get used to reading again. Hey come on you’re reading this aren’t you?
And don’t be scared to ASK if you need reading help. You hopefully have selected some sooper dooper docking stations by now, they’re there to help and if they’re stuck, they’ll find help for you both. Don’t panic, there’s so much to do and to think about that we don’t have time to panic.