NATIONAL LITERACY MONTH AND WHY READING IS IMPORTANT
DISCLAIMER: Most of this is painful for me to talk about, but my desire is to show people why reading is important and that people should read.
September was National Literacy Month and even though I am a month late I want to tell why reading is important and how it helped me to earn 3 degrees and indie publish 5 books.
Lets start off at the beginning, it was 1975 in East North port on Long Island, New York. Up to that time I was a normal enough kid I played baseball, collected baseball cards and enjoyed life. It was a Bell rose Elementary School when problems started. I was having trouble sitting still, understanding math and trouble writing and reading. I got send to James E. Allen Learning Center in Dix Hills, NY and since this was the 1970s the dark age of mental health care.
Almost immediately the teachers started calling me and the other kids names and some of the others were physically disabled and had bigger problems that me. I was still struggling and the teachers were calling me stupid, telling me I was dumb and would never amount to anything. (I didn't know I had severe ADHD Disability of Math & Written Expression, Inner Personal/Occupational disorder, Schizotypal personality Disorder didn't discover this till 2006 but I'm getting ahead of myself) It was a teacher there I can't remember her name but she was the only teacher who was nice to me. She helped me understand basic math and improve my reading understanding. She encouraged me to start reading books. The first book I really read cover to cover was 'Where the Wild Things Are" and then I read "The Count of Monti Cristo.'
She then helped me learn to write better and in my book of poems 'Poems From the Heart' cover poems written during that time and you should check it out. Well I was able to handle school and then I was kidnapped to Lilburn, Georgia in 1979 (that's what I call my dads transfer) I wanted to stay in NY. Well I was enrolled in Trickum Middle School which I attended till 1982 when I graduated to Parkview High School where I graduated in 1985. I was having issues and if you saw my high school transcript you would understand. The grades were based on this undiagnosed problems and the negative verbal abuse I suffered at that school in NY.
I had trouble writing and I was able to do math. In those days math was not a requirement for graduation and we did not have computers, internet, cell phones. There were teachers there that encouraged me to read and that fact helped me survive and I was able to transport myself to other places. I loved reading and I soon learned to write well. I joined the military 1984-86 when ADHD and the other mental health issues (also not diagnosed) caused me to get Honorable discharge. I was writing always I wrote just for the joy of writing and my first book Bad Memories was written by me in 1988-90 and published 2015 reedited 2015 and 2017.
I am skipping a lot of stuff and will just say that reading helped me finally get my 3 degrees and write 5 fiction books and poetry. I learned a lot at Gulf Coast Community College, Gulf Coast State College and Florida State university. Writing all those reports, essays, research papers and a 6k word novella helped. Reading helped me get jobs and be able to have successes in life such as they are. I want people to keep reading and never quit. Reading opens your mind and you are never too old to learn to read.
I want to thank my teachers and professors at Gulf Coast Community/State College and Florida State University for helping me to improve my writing and though process. I also want to thank those high school teachers who also helped me.