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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Slysdexic Reader
By Sue Dent


Slysdexic Reader

I volunteered to be a reader at school.

To help those having trouble forming letters into words.
First graders.
Six and seven year olds.

In the hall, at a desk, two of us sat.
He would not look at the page.
Feared what he might see
Feared that he might fail, again.
Fear so great that he wouldn’t even look.

He had to look though.
Otherwise how could he learn?
How could he understand?

Three words on a page.
Three simple words.
Might as well have been another language.
Might as well have been poison.

Poor guy.
He looks at me avoiding the words altogether.
Explains in great detail how he loves to draw.
Points to a very detailed picture on the wall across from us.
An elaborate description follows.
He articulates perfectly the meaning.

I see badly formed letters at the bottom of the page.
Some are backwards, some undecipherable.
I can make out his name but that is all.
I have an idea.
I ask him to read the rest out-loud.

He does so with great enthusiasm.

I point to the words on the page in the book.
I encourage him again to read these.
He calls me silly and says those aren’t words.
I tell him they are.

He leans in close.
Speaks softly.
“Well, if they’re words, then you read them. You’re the reader.”

I volunteered to be a reader at school.
So that’s what I did.

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This article has been read 842 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood02/02/07
I enjoyed reading this--could picture the frustrated little boy and the dedicated teacher.
This worked well as prose written in the format of poetry--the brief lines added to the intensity of feelings. Was also grabbed by the unusual and clever title!
Jan Ackerson 02/02/07
Super title! I got a little bit confused at one point--what does he read with great enthusiasm? But you certainly expressed beautifully the frustration of a learning disability. I also really like your free verse format.
Helen Paynter02/04/07
What a lovely, gentle, toching poem. I really enjoyed this and felt my heart going out to the lad who was failing to be al he could be because of his dyslexia. Great.
Sandra Petersen 02/05/07
Sue, I loved the way you conveyed this message. This was beautiful in a heart-wrenching sort of way. No one knows the struggles a dyslexic reader goes through. But you portrayed it very well.

Kathleen Morris02/05/07
I loved it! It made my heart sigh just thinking about the challenges this little boy must face.
Shari Armstrong 02/05/07
Very well done. The connection to the art was good, as my bro-in-law is dyslexic (as is my nephew) and artistic.
Allison Egley 02/05/07
Oh, this was good. I saw the title and wanted to read it, but hadn't gotten around to it. And don't worry. I understood perfectly what he was reading aloud with great enthusiasm. And when I've been working in the classroom, I've found that's the perfect way to figure out what someone wrote when you can't read the handwriting. lol
Donna Powers 02/06/07
Very nice story and the form helped with the narrator's POV. I felt his frustration and was right there in the corridor with them. Thanks for sharing this
Sara Harricharan 02/07/07
A lot of emotion here! I liked the ending where the reader 'read'. Great work!
Patty Wysong02/07/07
You captured his feeling and made me understand his frustrations. You helped me understand the struggle my sister had--Thank you!! I loved his humor at the end!
Julie Arduini02/07/07
Loved it, especially might as well been another language, might as well been poison. That's showing, and a mighty excellent way of doing so. Excellent!
Dennis Fletcher02/07/07
well done, I like how you brought us into the little boys world, almost showing us his fear of failure.
Myrna Noyes02/07/07
Wonderful, touching story told in a captivating manner! I enjoyed reading it as unrhyming poetry and thought it flowed so very well! Thank you!