Life Changing Book

The first book that changed my life forever, wasn’t an inspirational or motivational book.  The author is not a guru of any type.  The first book that changed my life forever, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

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I have dyslexia and the school I was attending used phonics to teach us to read.  I have nothing against phonics, but it is a horrible way to teach a child with dyslexia.  However, that information was not known at the time.

I also have a hearing disability that made it impossible for me to differentiate some of the vowel sounds.

What a combination?  It’s no wonder I struggled learning to read and lost the desire to even try.

I was in forth grade and the teacher decided to read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to the class.  Each day, she would read a couple of chapters.  I would close my eyes and picture the story in my mind.  It was my favorite part of the day.

When she finished reading the book, I felt lost.  I wanted to know more about Peter and his brother.  I went to the library and eventually read all the books they had by Judy Blume.  After I ran out of Judy Blume books, I started to read books by Beverly Cleary.  Next I was ready about Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew.

It was a struggle at first, but the more time I spent reading the better I got.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the most effective way to teach someone with my set of disabilities to read was through a method of repetitive sight reading.  Since I fell in love with stories, that is exactly what I was doing.

It was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing that motivated me to develop my reading skills and gave me a love for books.  It changed my life forever.

Paying for College

It’s no secret, going to college is expensive.  However, there are a few things you can do to help decrease the burden of college tuition.

  1. Apply for Pell Grants through your school.  Pell Grant money does not have to be paid back and is awarded based on financial need.
  2. Get a job with a company that offers tuition reimbursement.  For example:  Apple, Home Depot, Publix, Best Buy, UPS, FedEx, Gap, and Verizon Wireless will help pay for their employees education.  Do a google search of businesses in your area to see which ones will offer this benefit.
  3. Attend a community college for the first two years.  The tuition cost at a community college is drastically cheaper.  Taking some of your classes at a community college will reduce the total amount you have to pay for your education.
  4. There are a few colleges that offer free tuition for all of their students.  The students are given jobs, at the school, to help offset cost not covered by financial aid.  A few of these schools include:  College of the Ozarks, Berea College, Curtis Institute of Music, Alice Lloyd College, Webb Institute, and Deep Springs College.

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Hearing Loss in Childhood

I was born with inner-ear deformities, so I have dealt with hearing loss my entire life.

In school, I struggled to hear the teacher.  As a result, I was viewed as intellectually challenged.  I was also punished for failing to follow directions that I never heard or that I misunderstood.

I couldn’t explain to the adults in my life what was happening.  I didn’t understand it myself.  I didn’t know the other children were hearing things that I missed.

For me, I think the saddest part of growing up with a hearing disability, is believing I was stupid and that I would never succeed in school or in life.

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Children and Sports – Keeping Score

I believe the current trend of not keeping score at children’s sporting events is doing more harm than good.  Playing team sports teaches children valuable life lessons and keeping score plays a major role in teaching these lessons.

  • Keeping score teaches children the benefits of hard work.  If everyone receives the same reward, no matter how hard they try, it takes away any incentive to put forth their best effort.
  • Failure is a fact of life and children need to learn how to lose.  It’s much easier to learn the basics of overcoming defeat as a child on the playing field than as an adult in the work force.
  • Children also need to learn how to win.  Personality goes a long way in the world.  If you are an obnoxious brat, employers will not want to keep you around.  You must learn to be a gracious winner.

 

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The Dyslexic Advantage

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I was intrigued by this book, because I am dyslexic.  I still struggle with telling certain letters apart, if they are not in the context of a word.  I also have difficulty figuring out which side is my right and which is my left.  Over the years, I developed little tricks that allow me to overcome these problems.

The book gives a brief overview of dyslexia and how the brain of dyslexics processes things differently.  Those differences can create problems in certain areas; however, they also allow people with dyslexia to thrive in other areas.

The advantages or abilities discussed in this book are not in spite of dyslexia.  These advantages are a direct result of dyslexia.

  • People with dyslexia tend to be excellent story tellers and are extremely creative.
  • People with dyslexia have a greater ability to process 3-D images in their brain and determine how those images will function in the real world.
  • People with dyslexia often see patterns, relationships, and associations that are missed by those without dyslexia.
  • People with dyslexia have greater long-term memory abilities, especially when dealing with events or things in a story format.
  • People with dyslexia often have a greater ability to predict future outcomes, based on cause and effect processing.

The authors of the book also questioned labeling dyslexics as having a learning disability.  In reality, those with dyslexia tend to be highly intelligent.  They just process information differently.

The authors also believe our education system is doing a great disservice to dyslexics by trying to force them to learn in the same manner as those without dyslexia.

College Tips and Advice

Today is Gwen’s first day of class at Calhoun Community College.  I have some tips and advice that I would love to share with her.  However, I can’t just tell her my advice.  I am a blogger, so it has to go in a post.

  • If you need help with a class, don’t be ashamed to ask.
  • Stay positive, if you keep working at it you will complete your degree.
  • Attendance is important, so try to be there as much as possible.
  • Get involved in campus life.  Find a club or organization to join, attend some of the sporting events, plays, debates, and special lectures that are available at the college.
  • Learn the material.  Study it until you understand it.
  • Don’t be in a hurry and do your best.
  • Don’t procrastinate, have a plan to complete assignments ahead of schedule.
  • Pay attention during class and take notes.  If the teacher says something is important, write it down and underline it.
  • Keep your notes, assignments, and study materials organized.
  • Make some new friends and have fun during your college years.

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