Shirley got in touch with Lead via the Peer Team who bumped into Donna, our Learning Coordinator in the library. The Peer worker had found out by chance that Shirley had difficulty reading and writing. In her early 50’s now, she had hidden this from people since school, making excuses not to read. Only her kids knew, “but they slag me off because I can’t read. I want to learn, I’ve got lots of grandkids and I’ve made excuses not to read to them.” She was offered reading and writing classes in a group by the Job Centre, but said, “I wasn’t ready”. She was matched with a Lead volunteer, Peter, on a one to one basis and so built her confidence through weekly sessions. “I got a bit stressed with the sounding out sometimes which I found the hardest bit but I never missed a week, never had a day off. I wanted to learn. I can see the difference, but it doesn’t come overnight.”
Shirley has started a cooking class, learning to read recipes and now feels ready to go into a group to start learning computer skills. “I’ve got a laptop, but I depend on everyone else, it’s sitting doing nothing. Before it was the spelling which put me off. Now I’m ready to try.” She still worries that someone will see her and find out that she has difficulty reading and writing, “that’s my pullback”, but she is determined not to be held back. Power to you Shirley! Do you know someone who makes excuses not to read? Get in touch with Lead Scotland and we can offer support to learn. Names have been changed.