One of the great things about living with dyslexics is that they never fail to surprise you (I’m sure this happens in other families as well, but I don’t have experience of them….) This Christmas both my husband AND daughter have surprised me for very different reasons.
Firstly, my husband got a tablet for Christmas. He needed one for work (and I was keen for him to have something that he could carry around with him that might help him to be more organised, particularly after the recent fiasco when he forgot to pick our daughter up from school, but that’s another story….), however he also announced that he’d like to be able to use it for reading books. This in itself wasn’t the surprising thing as my husband is quite an avid reader (although with a fairly narrow repertoire of science fiction and science fantasy, and is most comfortable reading young adult fiction). And he’s also a very slow one: He tends to average only a couple of pages a night and so it can take him 6 months to finish a complete book, and he’s been reading the same science fantasy series for the last 25 years! However, what did surprise me was that as soon as he’d got a reading app he started searching for free books that he could download, and plumped for a selection of classics like The Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes. And first on the list for him to read was Pride and Prejudice! Now this is one of my all time favourite books and my husband has enjoyed the various TV and film adaptions (so much so that on several occasions I’ve caught him watching a repeat of Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle on some obscure channel!), but I never ever ever in my wildest dreams imagine that he would read it himself! But not only that, he finished it in less than a week, got at least some of the wit, and enjoyed it!
Secondly, my daughter was chosen to play the main part in her school’s Christmas production. Again, this in itself, wasn’t too much of a surprise as her ambition is to (follow in the footsteps of her dyslexic hero, Kara Tointon) and become an actress, and she was determined to get a part. What was astonishing was the fact that she seemed to learn and remember the part by complete osmosis without any effort at all! And in fact, she learnt the whole show off by heart, so much so that she mouthed everyone’s words as they said them and could prompt them if they missed their cue! Incredible! And I still don’t know how she did it!
I had been equally pleased and apprehensive when she got the part as short term memory is one of her main weaknesses and we have had endless traumas with learning things like times tables and spellings, but somehow she managed to bypass this completely and commit everything to her long term memory, I presume because of the actual physicality of acting and not just reading and saying the words.
Her next challenge is a small part in Romeo and Juliet at the local High School in February, so watch this space….