Sitting down and writing a paper, let alone a story, can be a daunting task. The construction of a well-written piece of work is difficult at the best of times, but not being able to read would make it that much tougher. This was the case for one New Brunswick man, Andy Flanagan.
Flanagan, of Belledune, recently wrote a 22-page short story, titled “How I Laerned to Read.” His book looks at his journey with dyslexia and how he’s learned to cope with it.
“We didn’t know in the ‘60s what it was. I couldn’t read well in Grades 1 through 4. Only seeing two to three letters at a time, something wasn’t right.”
The 59 year old said that while he wasn’t good at reading in school, he had great memory and imagination.
“One day in the fifth grade, one of my teachers asked me to read a story that I had wrote. So I got up in front of the class and told the story that I had supposedly wrote. But, I handed her a blank piece of paper. She still gave me an A+ for creativity.”
But Flanagan’s inability to read led him to fail Grades 7 and 9.
“At that point, I thought about leaving school and joining the military. My dad was a POW in Hong Kong and you didn’t need to read to be accepted into the military.”
Instead though, Flanagan’s family realized he needed help, and sent him to a summer camp in Quebec for reading problems.
“They sacrificed a lot to send me to camp so I made sure I was going to learn to read.”
Now as a grandfather, he realizes that that his granddaughter is going through a similar situation.
“I see her and she’s doing the same thing I used to do. Switch B’s for P’s, things like that.”
When it came to writing the short story, Flanagan just sat down to write and everything came out. He then sent it to Fierce Ink Press who have since picked it up and are now the publishers.
Flanagan says that, while he isn’t as bad as he used to be, he is still living with dyslexia but has learned methods to cope with it. He also says that this book is for anyone living with dyslexia, or a parent or teacher of someone with it.
“Keep at it. You’ll figure it out on your own.”
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