Reading and spelling required that I recognize and remember the order of letters in words. During my sixth year of life I discovered that I did not know how to do this.
My first spelling test was handed back with a big red C- on it. Why didn’t I know how to spell those ten little words? We had practiced them with the teacher. Sally and lots of other kids received A’s.
My parents were shocked by my low grade. My father said I had to study harder and stood over me as I wrote every spelling word fifty times. Through my first years school we continued this practice and he diligently tested me on my ten new words each week. All of this effort brought my grade up to a B in spelling. Sometimes.
No one talked about learning differences when I was in grade school. Kids were identified as “smart,” “slow,” or “underachievers.” I could not be considered “smart” if I got low grades and was slow at learning to read. So which is she? My father must have wondered. Is Jeanne “slow” or an “underachiever?” Whichever I was there was no question that the solution lay in my working harder. And if my grades did not improve there would be no more tap dancing lessons.
As a six-year-old I liked tap dancing a whole lot more than remembering how to spell words. I still do.
Watch for blog Dyslexic Tap Dances in a future blog.