My journey from a non-reader to a bibliophile

There was this norm in my school, where every girl in the classroom, would stand up and read, one paragraph each, of the ongoing lesson. While all my classmates read gracefully with suitable voice modulation, I struggled to get even the first sentence right. This pattern continued not until the age of seven , but seventeen. It couldn’t continue forever, as school ended, a few months after my seventeenth birthday. Hey wait, there is more to my misery. I have a literature laureate mother, who wanted to be a ‘Doordarshan’ news reader herself, and hoped, I would fulfil her dream, someday. And that day never came. Oops! She figured that out pretty early.

Now, coming back to me, I was this ever smiling, happy for no reason, weirdo, loner who struggled in practically everything. I was much below any average kid in almost all aspects, barring music (which anyway was considered useless by my intellectual mother). And yes, I secretly wrote well, that being the only way I could declutter my mind.

When I had my daughter, I feared, she might struggle to read, just like me. You need to trust me, I was 30, and hadn’t read a single story book in my entire life until now. I had heard co-mothers chattering about ‘Phonics’ an ancient 16th century method, the ‘IN’ thing, that would help small children in reading better. The word reading some how rings the brain’s bell. To my extended misery, at that point, there was this very popular, successful, expensive and influential teacher, in the other end of the city, who taught phonics. She was the best and most importantly at the other end. But a mother seldom cares about the distance. So off I went, with my little daughter, to her. At the end of an hour’s study, and two and a half hours to and fro journey, the daughter only revised what I had taught her a year before. The ‘happening’ phonics class didn’t suit my kid. Then, super-mommy decided, to wear her super-cape, to save her daughter. So, I quickly did a ‘phonics’ course and worked on a tailor made educative program for my daughter.

When we read, we do it either through decoding or through memory. Nearly eighty percent of the words in English language can be phonetically decoded as in broken down into sounds. The rest are sight words, that need to be memorised for example ‘the’. Sight words are ‘naughty’ as they refuse to follow the phonic rules. Also there are funny rules, so that children learn as quickly as possible, in an enjoyable manner.

While preparing my daughter, I self-taught myself, how to read. Also, I discovered, I was scared of the echo of my own voice. That was one of the probable reasons I couldn’t read aloud in school. A very short attention span reasoned my inability to read without fumbling. My problem wasn’t an unsolvable one. I started with small quotes online, gradually reading articles and eventually books. That made me, ‘newly a reader’. Daughter started reading really well for her age. All the hard work put in was worth it , finally. I bought books, more books and many more books for her and a few for myself.

Once while decluttering, I could not let go off the books, that were no longer needed. And thus, ‘The Little Reading Room’ was born – A school of thought, that would help struggling readers like myself and also average and brilliant students to inculcate interest in reading.

N.B. This is not an advertisement for ‘The Little Reading Room’.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Published by Neha Jhunjhunwala

Sparkling storyteller, Singer, Writer, newly a reader, Arm Chair Rebel and ‘Secretly a Mermaid’

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