Facing the fear and learning to read

​A 60 year old former literacy student talks about facing fear and life changing images

There is a saying that says “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will”.  At age 50 a student full of fear contacted his local TAFE and set about learning to read.  Prior to this his world had fallen apart with a broken marriage and a lost business.  His spouse had looked after the admin and without her he didn’t have the reading and writing skills to continue to trade. 

For 12 months he met with a TAFE literacy teacher and at the end of the year he was reading.  The first book he read was a book given to him as a child. This was a book he’d kept always hoping that one day he would learn to read. He engaged with Libraries Tasmania a few years later to work on some specific writing goals. He’s come in and out of the program several times to work on goals and once accomplished gone off to do his thing.

Just recently he happened to be walking up the street as the local Literacy Coordinator was taking a coffee break.

After some general chat about reading and how it was all going, he told her that he had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The Coordinator was lost for words. He was bright and cheerful and said that he was doing ok.  He then said how happy he was that he’d taken the big plunge to learn to read.  He said that it was a huge decision but how grateful he was to himself for taking that first fearful step and contacting TAFE.  He’s grateful to his TAFE teacher and to the Libraries Tasmania volunteer tutors who helped him achieve his goals.  But mostly he’s grateful to himself for not allowing fear to hold him back.