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People Making Changes Issue 1 -
Triumphing over reading problem

- Dorothy - 19/12/96

“About a woman who was a late reader. Some change is like
a miracle. Lynne's story can give others new hope.”

Determination is often the catalyst for change, for getting over the obstacles. That is how it was with Lynne.

I decided to write about her when I was chatting to her and found out what she was packing into her life. She works full time most of the year, is on her own looking after a family of four children, including a pre-schooler, and is at University doing additional units after completing a degree. In spite of this heavy programme Lynne has found time to work as a volunteer for the Adult Reading Assistance Scheme.

Why does she want to fit this into her life? First she told me it was because she so valued the chance to study and wanted others to have the same chance. When she left school with two School Certificate subjects she went to work in a Government Department and stayed there until she married and had her first child. A move to a new city left her at home with two small children and feeling very lonely.

All these years she had a recurring dream. She was walking the corridors of her old school. Time after time this dream came back. Lynne decided to find friends by going back to school and passed well in a sixth form and seventh form subject that year. The dreams ceased.

She heard about a previous year's student like her going to University. She found that what she had done at school that year was enough for her to enrol because she was over twenty one. She took the plunge and enrolled. Through the arrival of her third and fourth children and the pain of being left on her own, she passed subjects for her B.A. degree. Then she completed her Certificate in Tertiary Teaching so that she could teach reading more effectively.

Why was the motivation to teach reading so strong? At the end of our interview Lynne told me of the strongest reason. Lynne was a late reader herself. At primary school she suffered the unhappiness of being scorned by teachers and others because she could not read. Only as she started secondary school did those "unintelligible squiggles begin to mean something." She taught herself to read. She began to catch up after those wasted years and read books and consulted the dictionary constantly. Now she wants to give others help to open the doors that being able to read opened for her.

Should you be listening to a recurring dream too? It may lead you to exciting changes.

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