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As a young child some of your most proudest moments, the biggest achievement’s in your eyes are things like tying your shoe, learning to count and say the alphabet, riding a bike, but I think the biggest of all is learning to read. For me I hated reading, I loved people reading to me but as for myself reading it was an uphill battle. Growing up I had many friends and an extremely close best friend Mary Lawrence, we were so different and alike at the same time but in my mind our differences stood out more when it came to school.
She was an amazing reader; compared to her (which I did compare myself to her almost every day) I was atrocious when it came to reading. With her mother being a teacher and her father a librarian, Mary learned to read far past her age level. But me on the other hand, I wasn’t so fortune. Not only did I not want to read, but I also had a difficult time reading.
Like many kids I had a learning disability fueled by a severe to moderate form of ADHD. For anyone who has never dealt with a child with a learning disability or ADHA just imagine giving a monkey caffeine and then trying to tell them to sit still or keep their focus on you, it doesn’t work but that’s what it’s like being me little attention span and a difficulty learning. Over all it was a struggle for me as a child.
As I got older I did learn to read but at a slower pace than most. Still despising reading and having the disabilities that I did, my parents would go to tremendous lengths to help me advance.
I can still remember it now, every chapter I read I would get a half dollar, or mom would set the timer on the stove and say ok you’re going to read to dad or me out loud till the timer goes off. I wasn’t a fan of reading but the incentives of saving up money for something I wanted did make me read. Due to my setback in learning my mother was bound to help me succeed in life and she would do anything to get me to read and comprehend better. I still remember the year she bought some reading program like hooked on phonics (which she sent back because it didn’t work for me), and was looking into putting me in a program like sylvan learning. Despite her efforts I didn’t grow to enjoy reading but I did become better at it. At that time in my life I thought the effort of trying was too much and would never pay off. But now I’m so grateful that she never gave up, but finally all her persistence did help. I never truly enjoyed books till my mother found Harry Potter books on tape.
I can remember it clear as day, I was roughly seven years old this small scraggly haired girl with coca bottle glasses getting picked up from an amazing week at 4-H camp Overlook (a kids summer camp in the Adirondack mountains). She told me one of her coworkers had been talking about these books and how they were so great, so she purchased us a copy on cassette tape. As we drove home we listened to the book, it was just something about the reader’s voice (Jim Dale) that captured me and pulled me in till | was fully immersed in the story. As each tape ended and it was time to move to the next one for a new captor, my anticipation and enthusiasm grew greater and greater. | quickly became passionate about a book series for the first time, itching and scratching for more and more of Harry Potter this magical place where wizards and dragons and flying on brooms existed. I realized that I might not have been a strong reader because it wasn’t as easy for me as it was for other children but I had audio books, an experience that captured my attention and for once mad me interested in the idea of books. Soon after discovering my niche with audio books, I began following along in the books with the narrator; building up my skills and helping me better comprehend reading. It was almost like I could read on my own, well at least read Harry Potter on my own (after listening to it non stop day and night).
I finally decided to broaden my rage of audio books, after becoming obsessed with the Harry Potter series. After going to my local library and finding more audio books like the series I fell in love with, became obsessed with audio books. Now I was listening to books like lord of the rings, the hobbit, and the series of unfortunate events. I would listen to books on tap all the time, while cleaning my room, relaxing, and even as I feel asleep at night. I enjoyed them tremendously. I was now getting older and in higher grades where I was required to read for class. I started to panic. Beginning in middle school I was required to read for tests, assignments, and they said pleasure (for me it was more like pain). I excelled by teaching myself technics like skimming for tests and choosing books that have audio versions or ones that had been read to me, so I wasn’t making things up when asked about a book. But somewhere along the line I found that one book that made me want to read (not saying that harry potter didn’t make me want to read I just preferred listening to it). I can still remember holding that book, reading the back description, and feeling the pages flip through my fingers as I tumbled through the book.
The book was called the Spiderwick chronicles, it was another fiction book like Harry Potter but this one was different. This series of smaller chapter books was about normal people who had the ability to see the magical creatures around us, like goblins, fairies, unicorns, and more. That first book | read slow and had to go back and read things over to fully understand it but I truly loved it. I felt fully emerged in the reading for the first time. I felt like I was part of the book and experiencing what the characters did. This was so much different for other readings I had to do; for once I wasn’t being forced to read something, or faking reading something. I genuinely read this book from front to back, cover to cover; I actually enjoyed it, me the girl who didn’t enjoy reading. Who would have thought? From there | read more books like autobiography’s and books for class like The Secret Life of Bee’s, but nothing stuck to me nor did I enjoy as much as The Spiderwick Chronicles. As a child reading wasn’t easy for me. I wasn’t good at reading therefore I was easily discouraged and thought I was stupid when I struggled. This feeling made me apposed to reading and that feeling followed me for quite some time.
Not till later in life did I understand why I struggled so much, why I was not like Mary my friend. Before I really understood what was holding me back, I can remember coming home time after time crying to my mother “ I’m stupid, I’m not smart and I should just stop going to school and give up”. When I finally calmed down my mother would wipe my tears away as she reassured me that I was a smart little girl. I didn’t really understand what was wrong with me till I was about in 3rd grade. About then I was placed in what you call extra help or resource room, to me all you had to do is label me an idiot and put me out on the street. I felt stupid, like I wasn’t smart enough or like something was wrong with me. It was then that I learned I had a learning disability, (A learning disability is classified as several areas in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner) reading comprehension, and ADHD all rapped up to make hyper crazy me. This held me back to some extent because by definition with this disability in reading comprehension it impairs my ability to understand the meanings of words in a paragraph, well to me I understood the words but the paragraph as a whole I didn’t understand well when I read it to myself nor did I remember what was being said. I wasn’t retaining the information when I was reading the information myself.
But when it was read to me I could grasp the concept better Over time I learned more about myself, the way I learned, and coping meconium’s for my so-called disability. I figured out my stagnates, and weaknesses as well as how to advocate for myself so I could get the help needed to learn. Over the years I have learned a lot about my disability as well as other disabilities, and I know I’m not alone in the struggle to learn. I know that I am not the only person struggling. If there is anything I can say to other like me with a disability whether it be ADHD, a learning disability, or even a physical disability, it would be no matter what don’t give up, you’re not alone and no matter how difficult things are today they do get better. All you have to do is focuses on your stagnates, work to over come your weaknesses and always speak up for yourself, if you don’t tell people you have an issue other won’t know and you’ll be left behind with no one to blame but yourself. I worked adamantly all thought high school, setting goals for myself and achieving them. After being told I wouldn’t make it to college, that was the last straw I over came what other said by graduating in top 30 of a class of 120 and I made it to college. I fought for what | wanted by working my hardest and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I had to over come a lot but by not giving up and pushing through the tough times I have achieved all | wanted and more. All this was possible due to my dedication and the support of my family.
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