New doors have been opened to three Dunfermline ward members, of the Dundee Scotland Stake, who have just graduated from a literacy course on 8 September 2013, which is also International Literacy Day. Carolyn Brown from Kelty, Marie Brown and her daughter Michelle, undertook a literacy course produced by The Church. The course, entitled 'Ye Shall Have My Words', is designed to teach beginning reading and writing skills. The text and vocabulary is taken from the scriptures.
Sheena Christensen, who was a counsellor in Relief Society at the time, learned from the Church handbook that one of her responsibilities was for literacy. She felt inspired to teach a lesson on the subject one Sunday, and asked her friend Carolyn to speak for a few minutes about what her life was like with dyslexia. Afterwards, she was approached by Carolyn, Marie and Michelle and asked if she could help them with their dyslexia and other literacy difficulties. That is when Sheena discovered the Church's literacy course and made arrangements to meet with these ladies.
Sheena shares, 'This is a wonderful course, based on the scriptures. The course ultimately aims at the students being able to put their own thoughts on paper. It allows the students to learn slowly and just take small steps forward at a time. The course has taken these three sisters 2 to 3 years to complete and it has been great to watch the gradual changes which have brought them to the people that they are now. They are so much better at socialising, as a lot of the fear about what they might be asked has been removed and they are more confident. I would recommend the course to all those who feel there is a need for it within their wards or branches.'
Carolyn says, 'The course has allowed me to admit that I have dyslexia. It has taught me how to understand the scriptures better and to read aloud in class. I have more faith in myself and my abilities. I can now do simple things that I couldn't do before, such as answering the phone and writing down messages, understanding bills and bank statements, handling forms and dealing with council and bank staff on my own.'
Marie is now planning on doing a computer course and an SVQ course in Care Work, something she never would have considered previously. She said, 'I am more confident reading the scriptures. I now have a more positive outlook on life. I am integrating more within the church and finding ways that I can serve others. I am able to do more of the things that my daughter always had to do for me. I can now say that I have dyslexia and need help.'
Michelle, who took the course to help support her mum, says that it has helped her understanding of the scriptures, improved her grammar and spelling, given her more confidence to read aloud and take part in discussions, and ultimately has strengthened her testimony.
Each of these sisters is now looking forward to the doors that are now open to them with their new-found skills and self-confidence.