Wednesday, April 27, 2011


While we are in the confessional here, I have a real shocker for people who know me:

I don't like to read.

I far prefer doing other things.

Reading is a tool- and excellent for gaining new information about all sorts of topics, for discovering new stories and new lines of thought. But I don't like it. That may seem really strange when I spend my life in academia, where reading is an absolute necessity. It probably seems strange to people who know that when I am disturbed in the middle of a book, I can be quite snappish and grumpy. I was up until 2 this morning reading a story I love.

Reading is an overwhelming experience. The pull of words and scenes and characters becomes a sensory overload. Tearing away from a book to come back to this world is like being shoved from a movie theater into the bright sunlight, when you are still processing and thinking about the movie. Ouch.

If they published good, interesting books as audio books- not just junk fiction and "nonfiction"- I would love it. I am very much an auditory or aural learner, not really a visual one. But from what I have read about auditory learners, I don't fit those descriptions. I keep reading (I didn't say I don't read, I said I don't care for it and I would prefer to do other things) that auditory learners think in words, are bad at math and good at foreign languages, and have trouble visualizing things. I probably do think in words, but creating pictures is not a problem, either. I stink at foreign language, but rock at math. I remember things better if I hear them rather than having to deal with words. Letters and words can get very jumbled on a page and overwhelming, and I have to stop and read it again, making it take longer.

I purchased a copy of Ivanhoe in mp3 because I had always wanted to read it. It was like having a whole new world, to be able to listen to the book instead of fighting with print. And besides, have you ever read Ivanhoe? Awesome.

I have been thinking about this more because Joey is so very visual, and yet seems to dislike reading. He sometimes says it hurts. I wonder if he means it is overwhelming. Perhaps he becomes engulfed as I do, though I have never seen him be engulfed in a book exactly in the way I get engulfed in a book and can't stop until I reach the end (even in books I have read many times before- did I mention I was up until 2 am?) Perhaps the letters jumble up, or make other kinds of patterns for him, and remembering they are words is something that requires more energy for him. Perhaps he is expected to read too quickly, and needs a lot more processing time to really understand what he is reading, just like me. And perhaps it is a totally different issue than anything I can right now picture or understand.

Trying to get Joey to understand that reading is a tool that provides him with information is has been a challenge. I think once he really understands what words and reading can do for him, he'll be happier. I wish I knew what the obstacle was, so i could help him get through it to the other side.

P.S.- Joey reads beautifully, when you can get him to do it. So it isn't an issue of ability.


farmwifetwo said...

My eldest son was hyperlexic BUT he learned a word in this place, but not the same word in that place. Made learning to read a book a challenge when you didn't transfer the same word page to page.

Once that was mastered I could not understand why he doesn't like to read.

1. psychometry and language testing at Gr 4 hit the biggest problem.... excellent long term memory... poor short auditory and visual recall... can't read if you can't remember what you just read. It's coming... so we back up to interesting books with more visual, less words and it helped a lot.

2. He's not a visual learner. He doesn't "see in pictures".

Either or both of these could be hindering Joey's enjoyment of reading. My severely autistic one loves books. But his learning to read ironically, was "normal" in development.

I read constantly, everything and anything. I have a page on goodreads as well.

Viverrine said...

Interesting---I would say I love to read( I find it difficult to calm myself enough to eat a meal without some text in front of me, even if it's only ingredient labels or the horoscopes on Chinese restaurant menus), was almost certainly a hyperlexic child before that diagnosis existed, yet I also relate to much of what you say---and in fact I limit my reading a good deal, to specific authors and genres, simply because an ill-chosen story, with too much emotional intensity, will leave me deeply depressed for days.

Also, I am totally visual and the mere thought of audio books makes me actually cringe, I would not only miss much of the story but become overloaded to the point of physical illness trying to take them in in that way, yet, I am much better at foreign languages than at math, so I, too, appear to go against what is said on that topic.

Stimey said...

Hmmm. Food for thought. Jack also CAN read really well, but doesn't care for chapter books.

Joey is also lucky that you are able and willing to use your experiences to understand him.

Stephanie Zki said...
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