Well known children’s author and illustrator Sally Gardner visited Red Oaks Primary School in November to celebrate achieving the Dyslexia Friendly Schools Quality Mark.
Sally told an assembly that she was called word blind at school – before dyslexia was recognised – and was put in a school for maladjusted children because no other would take her. “I started reading when I was fourteen and there was no stopping me,” she said. “My mother told me if I passed five GCSEs that I could go to art college and then I went on to university. My message is if you work hard you will overcome difficulties with the help of teachers.
“But I do think dyslexia has too many negative meanings; we have to change this perception. For me it’s good to be dyslexic, it’s a gift children have because it brings out different aspects of their personalities.”
Learning inclusion manager Claire Owens said, “at Red Oaks we believe being dyslexic is being someone amazing and Sally was an inspiring visitor who supported everything we try to do. We work extremely hard to understand children’s learning differences and ensure we teach the way our children learn. It is a team effort involving our children, parents, teachers, teaching assistants and governors.”
After the assembly Sally toured the school to see how classroom displays are designed to make it easier for children to understand information and talked with children about how they have learnt different methods to read. She autographed copies of her book and drew illustrations for children throughout the lunch break.
Jayme Obloj said he enjoyed the visit. “I struggle with writing a bit so I use highlighted lines to write on and go to groups for reading and spelling to help me. I feel a lot more confident.”
Finlay Skelton is a keen Sally Gardner reader. “I was really excited when we heard she was coming. I go to a group to practice sounds and it helps me read more of her books.”
Pictured: Red Oaks children holding the Dyslexia Friendly School certificate presented by Sally Gardner, with learning advisor Ian Abbott, and Clare Owens