Saturday, September 5, 2009

Late Reading

On my other blog I wrote a post about the various ages of reading readiness and doing so reminded me of a girl I once knew. She was in Special Ed classes for Developmentally Delayed kids. In most of those classes the older students spent most of their time learning to do simple tasks like sweeping and wiping tables in hopes they might be able to get jobs as adults using those skills. I guess it was assumed that if they hadn't been able to learn simple academic skills by the time they were nine or ten years old they never would learn them.
However when this girl was about 19 years old (Special Ed kids stayed in local schools until they were 21) her parents insisted that she be taught to read. Although nobody in the school district expected her to accomplish much, they were legally obligated to follow the parents' demands so she was sent for tutoring.
To everyone's surprise, in one school year she learned as much as most elementary aged children learned in two years. Perhaps her neurological development had been delayed, but she was finally ready and able to learn to read.
And she's not the only one capable of doing that
Next Saturday I'll be participating in an event to help raise money for our local library's adult literacy program. There are all sorts of reasons why people didn't learn to read as children. Some were developmentally delayed while others were not able to attend school, came from families speaking other languages, etc. But most of them are now capable if they're willing to work hard at it. It's never too late to learn to read.

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