The Growth Of Awareness Of Adult Illiteracy In Britain
(d)STUDENT Y (for their confidentiality, students are not identified)
A West Indian man, in his mid-30s, married with young children. He works in a vehicle maintenance depot. Average to above average intelligence.
Q.When did you decide to seek help with literacy? Why did you come to Rathbone?
A.About five years ago, I had a dream that told me I must learn to read and write. I did try when I first came to Britain in 1960, but it was a class, just like at school, and I couldn't get on with the lessons, so I quit. Anyhow, about five years ago - one Easter Sunday evening, I knew I had to do something about it. So I went to find a friend but ended up at a church and saw the minister. Being Easter, he couldn't do anything then, so I went back and on the following Thursday, I met Mrs. Zonena (Gladys), Then she was at Blackfriars, so I started there. We talked and she gave me a sight test and I found her very understanding.
Anyway, I went to Blackfriars until 1974, when Gladys and Philip started Rathbone Clubs, I went to the Minet Library at first and I still do go there. To start with I went three nights a week. Now I go to the Minet once and to Jeffreys once a week too.
Q.How much reading and writing could you do when you first met Gladys?
A.I could just write my name that's all. Now, I can read and write my name and address, and when you gave me your address on the phone, I was able to take it down, and find the place. At work I can read the product names and tools.
C.Do your mates and your employer know of your handicap?
A,Well perhaps some do. I've never told them. And now I can do a bit, they don’t notice. Perhaps when I can really manage, they’ll think I was always able to read and write.
You’ve made a lot of progress over the years, Y, I know. Do you enjoy Rathbone classes?
A.Sure, I like the club; it's not like those classes I went to fifteen years ago. Even the others who are handicapped are nice to talk to. I enjoy the coffee break and going to the pub afterwards and the parties sometimes. It lets me talk to people I wouldn’t otherwise know. The only problem I see is the lack of volunteers, Some nights I can work with someone and really do a lot. Then I don’t have anyone next time and I can't make progress with what I’ve done. It's due to a lack or volunteers I suppose. And I do know it’s important for the ones who aren’t as well on as I am to always have a teacher. But it doesn’t matter to me too much,
Q.Do you do any homework, practice at home in the evenings?
A.No, I like to rest my brain, and relax. I look at the paper and now I can fill in-the forms and that connected with the house.
© Amity Reading Clubs and Betty Cooper 1978 to 2002 Page 37 of 51