March 29, 2010
The following story was written by Alison Pepper, from Edmonton, Alberta. Alison is enrolled in literacy classes at Project Adult Literacy Society (PALS). In April 2008, she took part in some sessions during the Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum in Edmonton.
My name is Alison. I was born in Edmonton on September 4th, 1963. I came out of my mom's tummy the wrong way. Something happened to my brain and when I was little I couldn't speak. I didn't say anything until I was 9 or 10 years old. I went to school at the Glenrose School. I did classes and speech therapy but I had a hard time. I didn't learn to read very much but I worked hard to learn to talk.
Once I started talking they sent me to another school, I learnt to read there. I went to a special high school. I was just starting to learn to read. When I graduated I took childcare courses and I started working at a daycare at the Y.W.C.A. I have been working as a child care worker for 24 years now and would like to try something else but it is difficult to find other work when your literacy skills are low. Some jobs require more reading than I can do. I have been studying at P.A.L.S. for almost 7 years.
My friend Tina MacEwan told me about P.A.L.S. We had been friends at the special high school we attended. We always stayed friends. She told me that she was working on her reading and that P.A.L.S. Project Adult Literacy Society would find me a one to one tutor.
I have had 4 tutors at P.A.L.S. now. Each tutor was nice and I have learnt something from everybody. The tutors at P.A.L.S. meet with their students once a week. We work on a lesson in a reader and I do homework every week. I also go to math classes once or twice a week. I really like the tutor I have right now, she's very nice and calm. I won the Student of the Year award this year and Rita was really surprised and proud of me. She came to the awards night. I got a plaque from the mayor of Edmonton, Mr. Steven Mandell. It was wonderful. I was sure someone else would get the award. I had to give a speech.
My parents, Doug and Jean Robb, came to the awards night too. They have always been good to me and supported me. My parents and my brothers watch out for me. I am the baby of the family and the only girl. They are proud that I am doing so well. They love me lots.
I met my husband Moe 14 years ago. He helps me with my homework and words when I get stuck. We met at the Fringe Festival here in Edmonton so we like to go out and see plays or music. I sing at the choir at my church and go to music at P.A.L.S. Reading the words when I am singing helps me with my pronunciation and vocabulary.