You have to look at the benefits of your child having a learning difficulty like Summer does. There are some real advantages of having an illiterate 8 year old.
For example when it all gets a little too much you can write ‘’ When will this end!!’’ in your own blood on the kitchen wall and she is completely oblivious and unharmed by your outburst.
You can leave your phone unlocked, highlight key paragraphs in 50 Shades of Grey and watch Geordie Shore on mute with the subtitles on.
I resigned myself to the fact that Summer may never know what it is like to read a great book or text her friends at 100mph. But she had other skills that we could develop to get her places, and besides those shelves in Tesco’s don’t stack themselves!
But Summer was catching on that she was missing out. I’d get a dirty text come through and laugh so loud that she’d want me to read it, or there would be an evil note pinned to the fridge for part-time dad ‘Go Jerk yourself back to Jamaica you C@*t’
She’d demand I read her everything – like I was her sight dog.
I developed a real knack of thinking on my feet.
‘ohhh that’s just a note for daddy telling him how much I love him and not to forget the milk’’
But she knew I was deceiving her.
So over the year she’d try and read everything, anywhere, any place. She’d be breaking down phonics at bus stops. Tackling sentences from TV ad breaks like that stammering kid off Educating Yorkshire, ‘’whore, whore whore whore ssssssss whore ssssss eeeeeee HORSE!!!!’
She was determined to read. She was just not getting anywhere with it. Teachers said one day she’d just click. But it wasn't happening, her peers where coming home with huge chapter books and Summer was still entertaining Biff and CH Ch Ch Ch iiiiiiiiiii ppppppp books.
I felt for her, because I had the same issues as a kid, as anyone who has read this blog more than once will realize I am dyslexic, but I had a mum who was a teacher and who could give me the time and patience I needed. Summer and I can’t read a book together without one of us feeling the need to knock back a shot and light up a fag.
So I left her to it – late at night with a torch under her sheets trying to read a Haynes mechanics manual from 1976. ‘Shhh shhh aaaaa fffff shhhh aaaaffffttt, shaft ,shaft BREAK SHAFT!’’
This went on and on well into the early hours, for weeks and months. My little stuttering, Tourette’s offspring next door in her room determined to read anything andeverything she could lay her hands on.
Things gradually improved for her, she got quicker and slicker with her reading.
Then one night … well it just clicked
‘’P P P Paul*, L L LLL Luke*, J JH JO JOH John*’’ is she reading the bible again? Was she going to make me listen to all the disciples’ names? bloody salvation army!
Then I heard ‘’7 out of ten, 8 out of ten, 2 out of ten’’ (She’s better with numbers)
She kept reading
‘’ furrr furrr first time weeeeeee d-i-d it’’
‘’Arr arrrms of a God t tttongue offff a…… th fir th thirsty dog’’
What the hell??
‘’so ggoooood I can’t wa walllk st str straii straight’’
Huh? This isn't the manual book
‘’H heeee wanted a t ttt iiiiii tit waaaa waaaann…..’’’
HOLY JESUS MOTHER OF CHRIST!
SHE’S FOUND MY SHAG LIST!!!!
*Names have been changed to protect those involved