- I am a terrible, horrible, no-good, stinky reader (I rank in the bottom 15th percentile)!
- In this post I provide examples of how I perceive words and sentences.
- The objective of this post is to give my readers without LD an idea of how difficult reading can be for those of us with LD and also demonstrate to my learning disabled readers that I understand how frustrating reading can be for them.
My brain: the ‘slow’ parts. Part 1. I don’t read right.
I don’t read right. I’m terrible at it. Actually, I suck at it. I get stuck on big words, small words, words I use every day and words I don’t know. I’ve become stuck on ‘and,’ ‘if’ and ‘it’ countless times. Basically, I regularly fail to read sentences fluently. A variety of “things/events” happen while I read that make it really difficult.
You know what happens with your eyes when you stare at a word document for too long? Words in your periphery begin to fade in and out of focus. Lines can sometimes slowly swirl or shift a little bit. Also, if you stare at your paper long enough, simple words become harder and harder to decipher? I feel like that is the best way I can describe how I read. When I look at a paper I don’t literally see the words swimming around the sheet, however, there is a disconnect between seeing a word and me knowing it’s definition. To help elucidate this point I’m going to demonstrate (to the best of my ability) how I read through my eyes. To give you a better understanding how I process information while I read I’ll break down a sentence in a manner to represent how I read them.
Here’s the sentence on paper: “Wow, today is a great day to go for a run.”
A lot of the time my brain will break the sentence up as follows:
The randomly placed ellipse: This occurs when I completely break up a sentence into two distinct ideas.
- I see the above sentence as: Wow, today is a great…day to go for a run
- I process that as, “Wow, today is a great” AND “day to go for a run.” So when I think about the previous sentence… I think, “Why is today great?” and “day to go for a run… What is that? That sentence doesn’t make any sense!”
Inappropriate pauses: This occurs when I frequently break up a sentence into multiple inappropriate components. This is a very common thing that happens when I read.
- “Wow, today… is a… great….…. Day…. to go for a…. run.
- It’s almost impossible for me to interpret the meaning of this sentence when I insert these pauses. I look at each word individually and out of context from the others. This requires re-reading.
Missing words: This occurs when I jump over a word (or two) in a sentence.
- Wow, [ ] a great day to [ ] for a run.
- When this happens I usually misinterpret the text. However, as a coping mechanism I sometimes insert my own words into the blanks when I think about the sentence to help complete the puzzle.
Getting the Gist of it: This occurs when I mistakenly try to read ‘quickly.’
- Wow. Great. Day. Run.
- Translation: Wow, today is going to be great! Let’s run! However, this translation is not correct. When I skim I only pick up a quarter of the words and I when I process this information in my head I just try to fill in the blanks. This is very similar to Missing words.
Becoming the editor: This happens when I add or take away letters from individual words
- Wow, [ ]day is a great day to go for run[ning].
- I do this regularly. I’m not sure why but I think my brain is either getting ahead of itself or it’s too slow at processing the words so it modifies them slightly. Ugh… this is totally annoying!
Smushing them together: This occurs when I read and my brain forgets to notice the spaces between words.
- Wow, todayisagreat day to go forarun.
- This usually results in me saying, “What is a todayisagreat!?” and “Who’s Forarun?!” This mostly happens when I’ve been reading for a while and I have too many words in my head to process at once.
Forget it!: This occurs when I completely forget what the beginning of the sentence said.
- [ ] for a run.
- THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING! It’s as if my brain has a hard time doing two things at once. As I read each word I forget the previous words. This is the most common occurrence when I read. This forces me to re-read everything multiple times.
These various types of distractions don’t all happen at the same time. But a few of them occur more often than not. However, I am medicated (I’ll discuss this in a later post) which really helps with my focus and my ability to read. These issues become compounded the longer the passage is that I have to read. I even have trouble moving from one line of text to the next. Ugh.
The objective of this post is to give my readers without LD an idea of how difficult reading can be for those of us with LD. I also hope I’ve shown my learning disabled readers that I understand how frustrating reading can be for them. But I believe that even though reading is hard, it’s worth working on, because it is so important in our everyday lives. With a significant amount of persistence you can overcome these obstacles. I hope it helps you stick to it by knowing that you are not alone in your struggles with reading (or whatever else they may be).