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On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Daughter Can Read!

Several months ago I blogged about my daughter and her learning disabilities. Not only is does she have a severe speech delay, but she is years behind in reading and writing. I think there is a kind of sick irony that a child of a writer can’t read. While I spend my days making books, she can’t comprehend what’s between the covers. Books are my greatest joy and her biggest frustration. I can’t count the number of times I watched her cry in despair when she would want to read the latest book, only to find the skills she need to do so eluded her. While her friends got excited about the latest Harry Potter, American Girls or Magic Tree House books, she would be left out. Forced to watch from the sidelines.

Over the summer she was given the opportunity to attend a specialized reading class. After she got done complaining about having to go to school while all her friends were at the beach, she found that she actually enjoyed it. I took her there twice and week without fail, but was disappointed when I didn’t see any improvements. I thought it was a big waste of time.

I could not have been more wrong!

This week she brought home a book from the library. It was about dinosaurs and that just happens to be one of her favorite subjects. She came to me and asked if I could read to her and I’m ashamed to admit I told her I didn’t have time at the moment and she was would have to wait until later. Then I got to feeling guilty so I went to find her.

She was in her room, sitting under a window, reading the book. I don’t mean just looking at the pictures, but actually reading the words! I stood there, not making a sound as I watched her gaze travel over the pages, her lips soundlessly forming the words. She finally noticed I was there and glanced up at me. The look of pure joy in her eyes made me cry.

“I’m doing it Mommy, I’m reading.” She pointed at the book, her finger shaking with excitement. “I know what it says.”

Now I can’t get books out of her hands. She reads in the car, in the bathroom, between classes at dance. She almost ran into the door going into school because she was trying to read while walking. It’s like a switch turned on inside her head and there’s no stopping her. She now knows the happiness books can bring to her and there is a whole world waiting for her to discover. She won’t be stopped either.

This is one of the happiest moments of my life and I shall forever remember it. It was the day my baby finally found a love for reading and there is no greatest gift in the world.



Courtney Breazile said...

That is so awesome! My older daughter has a difficult time comprehending what she reads and it never fails to frustrate me when she says she doesn't like to read, I love it how can she not? But it is all about it being a pleasure instead of work, if its work it can't be fun. I hope my daughter will get over her trouble and find the joy your daughter did.

AJ Llewellyn said...

My Stephani, congrats! What a beautiful post. Congrats to you and your hard work. You could not have given your girl a greater gift than the love of reading. Will she be reading her mommy's work anytime soon?


Stephani Hecht said...

That is so funny, AJ. Just the other day she saw the cover for my latest release,Primal Passions. It has a jaguar on the cover and she loves cats. So we read one, very tame, chapter of the book and she asked when it was going to be made into a cartoon!

Courtney, I just know your daughter will discover the joys of reading too. How can she not? Her mother is one of the best writers I know.

Erin Sinclair said...

That is absolutely the best news ever Stephani, congratulations to your daughter! I can only imagine your happiness.


SiNn said...

aww wow thats totally awesome. Im dislexic so was always hard for me growing up i loved to read devoured books but i had trouble so im glad to see she can do it n ow

Lynn Crain said...

That's exactly how it is, Stephanie. One day, all the lights are off. The next, all the lights are on and no one's home. And finally, one day, all the lights are on and everything is exactly like it should be.

My 17 yo diabetic son is dyslexic. He had that long before the diabetes, so when that came along, it was a breeze compared to the no reading.

We were lucky to have gotten a teacher who recognized it early and made sure he got the proper attention. Still will all that and the extra summer reading classes you're talking about, it wasn't until the sixth grade that it all came together.

He too would get frustrated, wondering why he wasn't like his friends who could read and excel in school. In the classes where reading wasn't such a huge requirement, he got straight A's but those such as history, english or social studies, we were lucky to pull a D.

Every summer we did the phonetic thing, the classes until we both screamed in frustration because we both wanted a different outcome. Then the summer before 6th grade, I notices a change. He was slowly getting it. Finally, by mid-6th grade, everything became crystal clear.

And I, like you, stood crying at the look of triumph on my child's face. It was the hardest thing he's ever had to do and he will tell you that himself.

Now, he's just an average, sports-oriented type kid who is getting A's in every class and determined to get an honor's diploma for his graduation this next summer. He can't wait and neither can I.

Great post, Stephanie. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.


C.R. Moss said...

I can understand the frustration when it comes to speech. I had issues with talking and had to go to speech therapy until the second grade. one of the reasons why i can be a quiet person and not say much or when i do talk i sometimes stumble over words.
So glad to hear your daughter caught on to reading! that's awesome! now the next step is getting her to be comfortable reading out loud. something I still hate doing.

Stephani Hecht said...

Thanks everyone! It always to help read comments like yours so I know we're not the only ones who have fought this battle. It has been so damn hard, but it was all worth it to see the look on her face when she realized she could do it.

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