Reading out Loud

Do you remember being in school, and being asked by the teacher to read out loud? I do. I remember it being agony, and pure torture to sit there and try to stutter through the words, as they twisted and turned on the page.

It wasn't until I was about seven or eight, that they decided I had a speech impediment, and so I began to do remedial classes to work on my ability to form words. Sometimes I fall back, even to this day, and struggle with my r's and my sssss sounds. D and T kill me with how similar they are, and words sometimes come out a mangled mess. We didn't discover my (very mild) dyslexia issue until I was 15 and in highschool. I'd slipped past all the tests because I read texts in entire chunks of paragraphs at once, so no one realized that I was taking in words reversed or upsidown and just running with it because the text around the broken word told me what the word actually was. With my speech impediment many teachers had mercy and never asked me to read aloud, so no one realized I was literally missing a third of the text in the books.

Considering how well I do at reading and writing, it doesn't seem like much of a big deal, right? I certainly didn't see it as a problem and so kept going through life in my own unique way, taking in the world on paragraph at a time and not sweating the finer details.

But did you know... that a child's desire to read usually spawns from their parents reading to them at night? That creativity and the urge to explore is often nourished through listening to your parents read you a book when you're too small to read yourself?

I have three children, and to this day I regret that I could not give them that experience. My daughter is a poet, and an avid reader all on her own. My oldest son enjoys reading books, but it was a struggle and is still not his favorite past time, and my youngest truly dislikes reading, but is an avid mathmatician and scientist. We've done pretty well with what we have, and I am deeply proud of my children and their accomplishments, but it really never truly hit me until the power went out last night, just how much they missed out.

Last night we had a heavy storm move in, that took out the power for thousands of people in the Utah Valley. My children came in scared, and I set up the living room with candles and a fire in the fireplace. But sitting around staring at each other is not very fun, so I pulled out a book from my childhood that I love to this day. It's called "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling. It's a wonderful book and I have a very old copy of it. I settled down with my kids and read to them the story of how the whale got it's throat.

It was... so difficult. I've spent so long compensating for my oddness that I never realized how many normal things I have avoided and so several skills have allowed to grow rusty from disuse. I had to read slowly, and I struggled with the words even though I knew what they were, because they were upsidown, or flipped around on the page for me. We made it through, and my youngest confessed to me later that he really prefers to read himself. When others read to him he doesn't understand what's said. It's just not read in a way he can grasp. That's the same with me, because I read paragraphs at a time, like taking a snapshot, being read to makes it difficult for me to understand what's going on. It's agonizing to wait for someone's spoken words to catch up to the snapshot I have of the page, and move on. My youngest is that way, it seems.

This experience has given me insight to speak to his teachers, and give him yet one more boost to help him in his education, one more bit of understanding how his brain works.

But... at night, I lay here and I wish I could have read to them stories, and had them run to me asking 'mommy read this book!' That's an experience every parent is supposed to have, but we never shared. And it makes me sad.

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