Being dyslexic caused me plenty of grief while at school. And as a young adult who could not read, I missed out on a lot. I recall a friend encouraging me to read a book he thought I would enjoy. He said; “You should read this. You are the type of person who would really appreciate it.” That was a nice compliment but I did not read the book – I could not read! We have been evolved to decipher words carried on sound waves, entering our brains via our ears. Encoding words in print and taking them in through our eyes is not natural and we should not be surprised if many people cannot do it. Then there is the way the English language is written. Godfrey Dewey noted that 41 English phonemes are spelt 561 different ways. The ‘oo’ sound for example can be spelt 22 different ways. Certainly a challenge for people not naturally gifted with good reading and spelling skills. Thankfully though, computer text-to-speech as made it possible for me to cope with life in a world dominated by the printed word.
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