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I love stories! But I don’t have to read or write them do I…?

I love stories! But I don't have to read or write them do I...?

Thursday 3rd October 2019

Isn't it just ironic that an area that dyslexic children, teenagers and adults love to spend themselves in is stories, and yet they often go through their school years and beyond disliking the process of reading and writing?

I was recently working with a student who was convinced that he 'hated' books. When asked why, he responded, "everything just constantly moves, none of the words sit still, like they hate me. And then I can't make sense of anything. Books are the worst!" And that was that. When probed further about his interest in stories that his mum read to him at bedtime, he said, "Oh yeah, I love stories! My favourite is Harry Potter..." diving into the most complicated aspects of the plot, characters and evil intentions of Voldemort.

It is true that books and stories are two separate entities for children who struggle with the mechanics of reading and writing, and yet they are some of the most brilliant and imaginative storytellers out there.

I once told a student of mine, who refused to touch books, about the rich history of storytelling or folklore. How, before reading and writing, people used to travel from hamlet to hamlet telling rich, detailed stories of mythical creatures, heroes and heroines, of battles and enchantments, of good and evil. How later, people would draw out stories on the walls of caves to be passed down generation after generation. She was so fascinated by what she heard that she asked, "Why can't we just speak stories in our tests, instead of having to worry about spellings and handwriting?"

It is true to an extent that life would be far simpler for dyslexic individuals if the system changed to suit their criteria. But as with everything, sometimes things are what they are for the time being.

But, what a dyslexic does have is their wonderful imagination! The most special and prized possession is their ability to manifest in their mind a world that belongs only to them - powerful, majestic, changeable, exciting and most importantly, in their control!

So, here are some hacks that should help you with telling your story

  • Hack#1 - Audiobooks!! Listening to stories is sometimes more fun than even reading them. It will expose you to new and higher level vocabulary (even if you can't spell it just yet), it will help your imagination take flight, it will allow you to think deeper and more analytically about the story features and most importantly, the narrator of an audiobook usually has a very velvety and yummy voice that is super fun to listen to!
  • Hack#2 - Repeat your story over and over again! If you have a story to tell, tell it! Say it out loud. Tell your parents, tell your siblings, tell your grandparents, tell the neighbours, tell the dog. The more you repeat your story, the easier it will become to write it. How many times have you memorised your favourite book because your mum has told it to you over and over again? Repetition really works, especially if you enjoy it!
  • Hack#3 - Record yourself! An amazing part of life nowadays is technology. And it is so useful. Recording yourself telling a story can help you break it down, write it in the correct order, reconsider some plot points and add more juicy information that you may have missed in your first recording. It is so important to break down the skills needed for writing. By recording it, you leave room in your mind for handwriting/typing, spelling and grammar when you actually come to writing the story.
  • Hack#4 - Eat something yummy! Sometimes when we are wound up and can't think straight even when we are creative and have so much to offer, we need to take some time away. It's okay if you take a break, have a kitkat... or any other snack you desire. Don't force yourself to do it all at once. Take your time, do it in little chunks. You'll find the end result much nicer!

I hope you have enjoyed your read and have taken away a few important messages in this post. Always remember, you are so amazing! And it only takes a few minor tweaks to offer the best you to the world.

Have a warm and cuddly day and tell some awesome stories. I truly can't wait to read them!