Shame Stories

Imagine Growing Up Ashamed of Your Mind

One of the least appreciated consequences of protracted reading difficulties is shame. Feeling to blame for being unable to read well enough leads to feelings of shame while trying to read. This can lead to a dangerous downward spiral for two reasons: 1) When shame triggers it 'shocks' and disrupts cognitive processing and weakens or breaks the flow of processing necessary to continue reading. 2) People instinctually avoid engaging in activities that cause them to feel shame. The more learning to read triggers feelings of shame the greater the desire to avoid learning to read. To make matters worse, reading shame leads people tohide their reading difficulties from those who could most help them.

In short, shame is devastating to immediate cognitive processing and it undermines the motivation and stamina necessary to learn to read. Understanding and learning to deal with reading shame is critically necessary for all those who work to support struggling readers. Throughout the work of the Children of the Code project we have heard stories that illustrate and exemplify aspects of 'reading shame'. Here's a few examples from our interviews:

Stories of Reading Shame:

Cognitive Consequences:

We want to provide our audience and network with a collection of such stories. If you have a story you would like to share with us please enter it into the form below.