Saturday, May 14, 2016


My rocky road to literacy did not start in my LD reading classroom, or the three years of extra phonics instruction; it all started the
Sean Taylor "Kurt" Bottom Right 
summer I was talked into playing Kurt in a YMCA Production of the Sound of Music. The only reason I agreed to do the play was the older girl that played Maria asked me in a very convincing way,  I had a very big crush on her. My initial excitement was replaced with the terrifying thought the people in the production would think that I was stupid because I could not read. I confided my fears and difficulties with reading to"Maria" and she assured me she would help with all my lines and songs. I showed up the next day ready to quit or try to make up some excuses to get out of having to participate, my real terror of being discovered as illiterate was palpable. I was a pro at avoiding or getting out of activities that I was poor at. Maria saw my real fear, she sat me down and started explaining all the steps in rehearsing a play and she assured me that I will succeed. At the time, I did not believe her, yet she was correct she is my reading muse "Maria". 

The first song we rehearsed that day was a bit ironic. The Sound of Music - My favorite things.

After weeks and weeks of singing songs, rehearsing lines over and over, and everyone always reading and sing everything aloud 10-20 times with script and text in hand made a giant impact on my confidence and  my realization that I was really reading. Marie my reading muse was there to rehearse as many times as I needed. God Bless Maria! 

My self-esteem and self-worth were below measure in school, I believed deep in my heart I was an abject failure in everything except possibly art and my casual success in math. Literacy seemed virtually impossible and an unrealized unattainable dream! As a dyslexic learner, I was unable to read, write, or decode words as a child, p, d, b, and q were all the same letter. The written word was a collection of cuneiform squiggles that swam around on the page. I was identified dyslexic at age 9 and later dysgraphic. I spent the next 6 years in special education pull-out programs (limbō) trying to learn to read and write. The special education programs never
Charcoal Portrait By Sean Taylor 
acknowledged my creative artistic capabilities, coping skills, depression,  and shame and humiliation of being illiterate, they focused on "curing" my learning disabilities with under-trained teachers! Many classroom teachers assumed I would never read or write due to the severity of my dyslexia and this made me feel worthless. I eventually learned to read all words by sight the same method as learning Chinese.

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