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Learner story archives

September 1, 2008

Barbara giving her speech

This story was written by Barbara Rahm, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Barb is enrolled in literacy classes at READ Saskatoon.  She received The Co-operators' Learner Achievement Award in 2007.

Play an audio version of this story

Overcoming Illiteracy

by Barbara Rahm

  • Hi, my name is Barbara.
  • I'm very proud to be standing here today.
  • This award really means a lot to me.
  • Because you see, as a child and as an adult I never would have thought that I would ever be good enough at anything to win an award.
  • I felt so stupid and different because I thought that I did not have a whole brain.
  • As I have a learning disability which makes it hard for me to learn how to do these things.
  • Not being able to read or write affected even the smaller things in life...
  • I was never able to send, or read, birthday and Christmas cards.
  • I managed to graduate with my grade 12, but I am not proud of this as I feel that I am not a true graduate.
  • I knew that I would never reach my goals and dreams not knowing how to read and write.
  • The things that would really bother me were...
  • Not being able to read bedtime stories to my little boy, Dalton.
  • Reading medicine directions, addresses, newsletters
  • All the little things that most people take for granted. I could not do without help.
  • I remember how I used to read stories to my son. I would look at the pictures and used them to make up my own story.
  • I tried to hide my reading problem from my son. But his father would read the same stories to him and as he got older he started to notice the difference.
  • The day came to tell my boy my secret, Mommy couldn't read.
  • I saw a T.V commercial about a program that could help me... READ Saskatoon
  • So I called READ that same day and I was matched with my tutor, Geraldine.
  • Geraldine and I meet once a week and with her help I am reading and writing much better now.
  • READ Saskatoon had a program called Project Ready, that I am happy to say that I was apart of.
  • In Project Ready I learned many things, but I will just mention some of my favorites...
  • C.P.R, Foodsafe level one, Parent Effectiveness training, Conflict Resolutions and the CHEP cooking program.
  • My life has changed in so many ways since contacting READ. I now have way more confidence in my self. And because of this I have learned some good communication skills, parenting skills and relationship skills. I can now sit and read a story or book to my son.
  • I was worried when Project Ready ended. I wondered what I was going to do next.
  • But I am happy to tell you that with the support of Tara, Mavis and Sheryl from READ Saskatoon I am in a wonderful new program that is helping me at my level.
  • I have improved so much and I will not give up and I know I will reach my dreams.
  • In the future it is my plan to be confident enough to be able to do anything that I want to do. Like college and a career. You know, where I make lots of money... hahaha.
  • Thank you again to READ Saskatoon, Geraldine my tutor, my family and all the other people who have supported me in my journey.
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