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Learner story archives

January 16, 2006

Photo of Carey Rigby-Wilcox

This week, we are launching 2 stories from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sandra Byers and Carey Rigby-Wilcox have been involved in literacy classes for a number of years.

Play an audio version of this story


by Carey Rigby-Wilcox

Hi my name is Carey Rigby-Wilcox. I would like to tell you a bit about my story.

I graduated high school in Saskatoon unable to read. I began to realize that I could not read at an early age. It all started in public school, as a class we would go to the library and the librarian would make us sit around her and we would listen to the stories. I was a real good listener.

In one of the classes we would have to each take a turn reading a story to the class just like the librarian.

Each time the teacher would ask "who wanted to read to the class today?" I would always hide behind others so that the teacher would not call my name. One day it looked as if she was going to call my name so I thought that I would just put my hand up and asks to go to the washroom.

"Good Carey you can read today."

"No, I just want to go to the washroom," I answer really fast.

"Ok you go and then when you come back you can read to us." The teacher said. I just at that moment got sick and did not know what to do, I was so scared. I went to the washroom and I really don't know how long I spent in that bathroom that day, but I knew that I had to go back some time soon. One kid came to get me, she told me that they where all waiting for me.

When I went back all the kids were sitting in a circle around a chair, and I was to be the librarian. I went and looked over the books, and decided on one that I heard one of the Librarians read before. I started talking the story out loud and turning the pages, but not reading the story. The students just sat there and listened to my story and they really seemed to enjoy it.

My teacher just sat there smiling at me. I felt happy I had pulled it off I was done. Then one of the kids yelled out loud and said. "That's not how it goes".

My teacher said "that's ok Ricky, Carey good job."

I had never been asked to read in front of the class again.

Years later my mother had tried to help me she sent me to a personal tutor outside of the school which cost money. The tutor was a teacher that was on maternity leave, she tried to teach me phonics. I could not understand them. In school they had taken phonics out and tried us with sight reading.

This tutor had told my mother that if I were to have nose surgery, that I would then be able to read. Thank God that my mother never listened to that lady, and I never went back. Another attempt was when I was sent to the McNeal Clinic in Saskatoon where they could so some testing. These consisted of blot tests and block tests. They came to a conclusion and told my mother that I was "mentally handy capped and would never function in the every day world".

I went from grade to grade, receiving no help and passing each grade. I found myself on stage receiving my diploma. I had graduated grade 12.

I was 18 and had become pregnant with my son. The Christmas before he was born I had receives a gift set of books for my unborn baby. At that moment flipping through the pages of a child's book I had realized that I needed to do something. But where and how was the question. After that I knew that I needed help. I had gone to READ SASKATOON and had one on one tutor help.

I have been with READ Saskatoon for 14 years now, I can read today but am still involved with my tutor. And probably for the rest of my life, that is my get away from the everyday world, once a week we go on a reading adventure.

As of now I am on the board of READ Saskatoon, with the SLN, Also with the LAN Learners Advisory Network with Movement for Canadian Literacy.

I have come to believe that telling my story is a healing and inspiring thing to do.

Thank you

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