When Ben first began attending the My Story programme created by Let Teachers SHINE winner Rachel Wilkinson, he had very low self-esteem. On the first day that he attended the programme he wrote one sentence: “Tommy roled the dys and clapesed on the street.” He then threw his pen down and stormed out of the room close to tears. Having been diagnosed with dyslexia just a year before, Ben was absolutely convinced that he’d never be able to write.
Slowly, over time, things changed for Ben. Rachel’s programme encouraged Ben to write on a computer and because his work was on a screen, there was no red pen marking on his work. At the end of each session his writing would be edited, and he would see the new version at the next session and continue from there.
Ben’s confidence grew because the My Story programme didn’t continually remind him of the things he couldn’t do – it empowered him to focus on the things that he could. By the end of the programme he was one of the most prolific students in the group; happily typing his stories to his heart’s content, knowing that his spelling wasn’t what defined him. He has told Rachel that his book will sell out first as every member of his family wants to buy a copy.
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Sir Howard Bernstein, former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council and SHINE PatronQuote
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