Entry:  013 Name:  Jan Age:  Adult Champion:  Mr Clarke (My 3rd Grade Teacher) I don’t have dyslexia, but I found out about it in the...

My Red Letter 2017 - E013 - Jan

09:49:00 Dyslexia Australia 0 Comments

Entry: 013
Name: Jan
Age: Adult
Champion: Mr Clarke (My 3rd Grade Teacher)

I don’t have dyslexia, but I found out about it in the 60s before it even had a name. That is when our teacher showed a whole class  that kids who couldn’t read or spell, were not only not stupid , but clever and hard working.  I was 7 years old and have never forgotten what he did and what a great lesson he taught, one that I have never forgotten.

We had reading every morning when each of us had a turn. We had to stand and read from our current reader, I was a good reader and I loved this part of the day.  But there were two girls, in our class who must have  hated  this part of the day. Their reading was painfully slow and torturous, for them to read out loud and for us to have to listen to. 

This particular morning Mr Clarke got both of them to stand up together and do the reading together. They started to read, and read the first few sentences perfectly, we were amazed. Then Mr. Clarke took their books away mid - sentence and they went on reading ..without the books. They had both learnt the whole chapter off by heart word perfect.  When they finished our teacher asked them to sit down after telling them what a great job they had done. He had obviously set this up and the girls looked very happy but a bit embarrassed too.

He then explained to the class that for most of us reading was easy, but that for some it was really hard. He explained that the two girls had worked really hard to first read then learn the whole book off word perfect, so that just once they could stand and “read” in front of the class without feeling stupid. He explained how much harder they had worked and how much cleverer than the rest of us “good readers” they were because they had  learnt the book by heart. 

I have never forgotten that lesson - that people who can’t read aren’t stupid and they are often cleverer than the rest of us.

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