The Gift of Reading

Reading books, or flicking through magazines (home style ones for me), allows a window to open, bringing with it that sense of abandonment and escapism. It’s as though the words on the page blur into images and I cease to see them as the collection of curved and straight shapes that they actually are.

Not everyone shares this delight, I know. For some, reading is associated with school, and all the obligatory, unrelatable texts they had to read despite not having any interest in them. For others, reading is just not something they choose to spend their leisure time doing. Look at the alternatives these days!

But reading will always be at the core of anything we do in life. Whether it’s reading instructions, following a recipe, or even interpreting your latest bank statement, being able to read is vital. However, this doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

We’ve recently discovered that our youngest daughter has Irlen syndrome. Putting it very simply, it means that seeing text (or in her case, a score of music) in high contrast black and white, makes it difficult for her to ‘read’. She had managed to learn to read when she was younger (she’s now 14), although she was a little older than our eldest daughter becoming fluent, but she had reached grade six piano without actually learning to read music – it was all by ear! It was only due to a comment made by a old friend I had recently become reaquainted with, who happens to teach music, that maybe she would benefit from using coloured overlays, that we looked into it further.

The full Irlen test is quite expensive but a local university undertakes a very similar, comprehensive version that determines what colour, if any, helps to clarify the text when placed over it. So now my daughter has tinted glasses that she wears when reading (whether it’s words or music) and, in her words, the pages are much less ‘intimidating’. But until this was picked up, she didn’t realise she was seeing it any differently to anyone else!

We didn’t evolve to be able to read, so it shouldn’t be surprising that not everyone takes to it naturally. Unfortunately, little nuances like my daughter’s, are not always picked up in school, and struggles are often put down to laziness or mental inabilities. Everyone knows learning to read (and write) is essential, but we are all unique individuals with different needs and abilities. Instead of expecting certain standards at certain ages, we should be more mindful that part of our uniqueness is our individual perspective on the world – we don’t all see things the same way!

Being able to open a book and dissolve into a different world is a gift; a gift that everyone should have the chance to receive.

#liveyourlegend #LYL #books #reading #writing #education #irlensyndrome #newblog #newchallenge

7 thoughts on “The Gift of Reading

  1. To me a well crafted book is akin to a wonderful meal that one never wants to end.
    It is true that for most of my life I considered reading just as you have written, “reading is just not something I choose to spend my leisure time doing” it was relegated to the doctors office and as you have pointed out instruction manuals and bank statements.
    However when I moved to the Alaskan wilderness and found that living off-grid came with many hours of idle time I started to read more and more. Now I search for the largest books on the shelf and pray that they are well written.

    Liked by 1 person

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