I loved books. I would lie in bed with my mother while she read story after story to my sisters and me. I loved the closeness this created, as we were entertained with adventures that written words painted in our imaginations. In my mind, the only way that I could access this magical world of story, was if someone else did the reading for me. I simply could not connect with the written word by myself.
At Polk School, we had reading groups that were numbered. Group One was the spot for the precocious children – the ones with promise and worthy of expecting futures as successful professionals. Group Two was for the filler kids, the ones who were good enough to do something with their lives, but definitely not the leaders or the ones destined for true success. The children in Group Three had no hope. They were the stupid kids. They were the children that kids made fun of because of their lesser intelligence.
I didn’t fit in any group. I longed to be one of the chosen in Group One, but I was never one of them. Group Two was where I usually ended up, even though my reading skills lagged behind many in that group. I was put in Group Three once, but that only lasted a couple of days, because I understood the work, despite symptoms of dyslexia. I was frustrated with reading, spelling and anything that tested my ability to comprehend or communicate through written language.
Now, as an adult, I am a good reader and I love to read. My mother’s reading to me showed me what a high price I would pay if I quit trying and stepped into a box labeled Learning Disability. I will always be grateful for the magnificent world her time and attention unlocked for me.