Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't remember learning how to read exactly, but one thing that I do remember about reading as a young girl had more to do with other people reading.
As a young girl, whenever writing and especially when working at a computer, I would leave one or two words out of a sentence. My mother told me "your mind is thinking that you've already put the word there." Whenever I'd read what I'd written, I'd never notice that any words were missing, I guess because my mind was also thinking that I was reading what I thought I'd already written. My teachers were always concerned with these errors, even though what it was that I was trying to say was still obvious, even with the words missing. I remember being out with my mom and seeing a book on a shelf. The title was in big red letters, and the author's name sat directly underneath it in tiny letters, but I couldn't read it due to its loopy and consolidated typeface. I don't know why, but I wrote about the fact that I couldn't read the author's name in my English class. I wrote something like "to the naked eye, it was illegible" but I left out the word "eye". My teacher actually asked me if what I was trying to say was that only naked people were unable to read the author's name. If I wanted to say that, I would've said "naked people couldn't read the author's name." She didn't really think that that's what I was trying to say, but she wanted me to learn a lesson and recognize my error. I didn't think there really was a lesson to learn; my mind will do what it does, so what else was there to do? My errors started worrying me too, so I asked one of the school counselors about it. I doubt I'll ever forget what she said to me, something like this; "That sounds like a mild form of dyslexia. Maybe you're dyslexic." I should not have trusted this woman's diagnosis, she was not a doctor so she shouldn't have been telling anyone that they might be dyslexic. I didn't know any better, I thought adults knew everything, and if they didn't know something exactly they at least had a pretty good idea. I later learned that this was not dyslexia. In fact, I guess it's pretty common. After being misdiagnosed I decided that I would only ask people who were qualified to answer my question. Yahoo Answers told me that it had to do with a lack of concentration, or that my mind is moving faster than my hands. Maybe it's both, but I never asked an actual person about it again. I haven't been bothered by it since, and it hasn't bothered anyone else. If I left any words out, please let me know.

One more thing that I remember has more to do with me reading. As a young girl, I was never comfortable with the rules of correct comma usage. The rules were never explained to me in a way that I understood, not by my teachers, nor by my parents. My father would tell me "when in doubt, leave it out" while my mother would be saying "when in doubt, use at least 5". Nevertheless, I was able to get by. It wasn't until my second year of High School that the importance of commas was presented to me in a way that worked. I remember in my 10th grade English class, my teacher asked us to read various comma errors made in medical journals. For example;

Patient experiences difficulty swallowing tires easily.
Patient experiences difficulty swallowing, tires easily.


She moves her bowels roughly, three times a day.
She moves her bowels roughly three times a day.


Patient has difficulty walking on diazepam.
Patient has difficulty walking, on diazepam.

I understood that the omission of a comma meant the difference between someone swallowing a tire and tiring easily or a person roughly moving their bowels and moving their bowels three times a day.

I also remember being in the car with my twin brother, we passed a street sign that read "Slow Children Crossing". My brother said something like "I don't see any dim children, so I guess we're good to go."

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