Question of the day.

Who taught you to read?

My answer:

Since despite multiple attempts and good will my parents have never learnt Braille, moreover, doubted I’ll be able to learn it when I was little, I learnt to read at school, as I think the vast majority of blind people would. In spite their doubts, it really didn’t take me that much time to master it. I didn’t like reading at the beginning, but once I’ve become more fluent at it I grew to love it and my teacher was actually saying I read way too quickly and too much (no idea where the boundary between enough and too much lies in this case 😀 ). Nevertheless, when she found out that I feel slightly bored with the stuff we had to read at school, for some time she wrote little stories for me that I could practice reading during longer school breaks when I was at home, they were all – just as I wanted it – about a little boy named Jacek. These weren’t hard to read either, especially that I would tell the whole plot to her earlier so she’d know what to write, and I was actually the one making them up, but at least that was fun and not boring and felt quite special to me. 😀 I guess though that with time it became a bit of a pain in the neck for her, haha, so I had to move on and start writing stories myself which turned out to be even more fun as no one would understand my ideas as well as I do!

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (16th June).

Do you prefer hardcopy or paperback?

My answer:

I nowadays only read ebooks/audiobooks or via my Braille display if I’m able to despite it really reserves to retire finally but I still try to read something on it, and sometimes I have to, so I don’t read physical books anymore. In a way it’s good because Braille books are of course very unpractical and large and expensive and difficult to access and not everything is printed in Braille, but on the other hand I regret because I actually do like reading physical books, it’s nice. But even when I did read physical books it didn’t matter to me that much if it was a paperback or a hardcopy, I liked both the same, unless they weren’t too flimsy.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you use any e-reader? If so, what was the last physical book you read?

My answer:

Of course, I do use e-readers. On a daily basis, I use my PlexTalk, also, because I like to read on my own, in Braille, I often read books on my Braille-Sense, which is a Braille notetaker with a Braille display, and among other things you can use it as a reading device. I feel like I absorb and learn more if I can read something by myself, rather than listen to it, so if I have the choice, I use my BrailleSense, though PlexTalk is much more comfortable option like in bed or while travelling or something. My Braille-Sense is quite portable but because it’s now over 10 years old, the battery is pretty much screwed up and I can’t get a new one at the moment so I have to have it on the charger actually all the time nowadays. But when I read books in other languages, if they’re not audiobooks, I almost always do it by myself. Also sometimes I happen to read books on my laptop but it’s rather rarely nowadays.

The last physical book, hm, as much as I love physical books in theory, it’s rather tough in practice to read physical books in Braille regularly. They’re way larger than normal, way more expensive, and generally not the most handy on the Earth. They’re very limited, you can’t get just whatever you want in Braille, I mean sure, you can order it in some printing house or something, I was once forced to do so, or my Mum was, and the costs were a pure nightmare. So if you were blind and wanted to only read physical books, I guess you wouldn’t read a lot since in most cases you should be rather prepared that the book you are looking for isn’t available anywhere. I theoretically am subscribed to our Polish sort of main Braille library, but since there are so many comfier, cheaper and useful alternatives I don’t see much of a point in doing so, unless I really wouldn’t have any way of reading anything on my own, then I would probably read at least some physical Braille books just to not become a secondary illiterate, as it’s not quite a tempting perspective for me. In the past, when I didn’t have as many reading devices, it was a regular thing in our family life that we were getting HUGE bags with books in mail from that library, there was always a lot of hassle around it, they were heavy, my Mum had to go back and forth to the post office quite often, often even was shipping the books forward to my school so that I could read them as I wasn’t at home most of the time, but I’ve always been a bookworm so there was no other way. 😀

What I borrowed from the Braille library for the last time, were tables with mathematic formulas that I needed to prepare to my finals, and, quite obviously, if you know me well enough, I’ve never thought about reading it whole like a book, there are so many more interesting and important things to do in life, right? 😀 I just got what I needed from it and that was all. So, hm, do I actually remember what was the last physical, actual book I’ve read? I guess nope. Had to be like four years ago, if not more, because even already in my last years at the school for the blind I was reading very few physical books other than textbooks or compulsory readings or such. Wow, I didn’t even realise it before. 😀

How about you? And which way do you prefer to read? 🙂

Question of the day.

Did you learn [to read] through phonics or memorisation?

My answer:

Completely through memorisation. How it started for me was that we were getting a text to read, as easy as possible, but not only with the letters we’ve learnt, and before we even started to analyse it as for which letters ae which and stuff, we had to memorise (at least partly) the text, and then we read it multiple times without even recognising many letters consciously. it was a bit weird, and I think pretty boring, but apparently that had to help us accustom to reading in general. There was such a funny situation when I came home for holidays and had my book with readings with me. And we had some guests – grandparents, some aunts and uncles, mostly family – and my Dad wanted to show off with me and that I am starting to read. So I opened the book on one of the readings that we had to practice, and followed the text, but just was saying what I memorised and remembered. And they all were like WOOOOW! You can read such a complicated thing! In fact, it wasn’t complicated at all, I guess, but just much more than you’d expect from a child in first grade lol. My Dad was astonished too. and I was very proud of myself, because I didn’t really differentiate between memorising and reading yet, I was also sure I am reading, just like them. 😀 The only conscious person in that chaos was my Mum.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

Was it easy for you to learn to read, or was it difficult?

My answer:

Apparently, when one of the staff at my nursery showed Mum how I’m going to read and write, she felt it’s impossible for me to achieve it. She already knew I have issues with coordination and sensory integration and she thought it would be just impossible for me to manage it. However, that turned out not being true at all. Although my coordination and sensory integration still is poor, and I mean actually very poor, it went relatively easy. At the beginning, I had a period when I didn’t like to read, it was just very exhausting for me and boring and all. But it changed very quickly and suddenly when I started to make some real progress, I started to love reading. And I learnt it very quickly. I remember my class teacher was making some additional readings for me, I know they were about a boy named Jacek and a girl named Fifi (I asked her to write about them for me, I don’t know why I came up with Fifi though). And I remember that one of them was about Jacek breaking his leg and walking with crutches, the scenario was also mine. 😀 I loved these readings so much and they were much better than what we had in our text books. Back then I was able to only read in Braille, I wasnn’t very familiar with technologies in early primary school as I had to teach myself about them, so I didn’t have anything to read at home and that was the only thing I really disliked about being at home, because I quickly realised that life without books is quite boring. So my poor Mum was desperately looking for some libraries or other stuff around our voivodeship (voivodeship is like a Polish province), but it didn’t help that much, so finally she signed me up for the Central Library for the blind and they always sent me just literally packages of books. It was quite an interesting view for our neighbours 😀 (keep in mind that Braille books are always larger than standard ones) and they were wondering why we get such an extensive mail all the time. Sometimes Mum sent me some books to the boarding school, but it didn’t work out practically. I also used to steal some old books from the attic. 😀 Things got more severe when I left the boarding school for two years for the integration school, I couldn’t cope emotionally at the boarding as you probably already know, so we thought maybe integration school will work out for me. At this time I had a legs surgery and I was rather immobile for months afterwards and, besides it being awful overall, it was also just so incredibly boring, so the only constructive thing I actually could do and enjoy was reading. I was literally able to devour anything readable, now I’m much more fastidious. 😀

How about your experiences? 🙂