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I've been writing stories since Elementary School but was diagnosed with a reading comprehension disability in High School. I was labeled as a visual learner. Currently I'm writing articles for websites but having a hard time focusing and writing properly. My editor said my article hardly read well but I'm a well spoken person and communicate my thoughts better than I write them.

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    Not an answer, but a word of support - my brother has a similar problem (even though officially classed as dyslexia, it doesn't quite match) - and had his first book published in bookshops and online earlier this month - so never let anything put you off (but do get a good and understanding editor) ;-)
    – Rycochet
    Mar 28, 2017 at 14:10
  • How does one get something published? I feel like I'll never have my own book.
    – Joe Rosa
    Mar 29, 2017 at 2:54
  • He started emailing around publishing companies. Unfortunately he got one that has really screwed him over as they did no editing, ran it through a spellcheck like in Word and did no grammar checking (so things like through / threw etc) and generally left it as a half-finished book - next time he's going to get my help, and as he's now published he's one step up to getting a publisher that doesn't have a bad reputation for doing this. In the UK at least there are legal protections against bad contracts (especially to anyone with learning difficulties).
    – Rycochet
    Mar 29, 2017 at 8:11

2 Answers 2

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Whenever you have written something, read it out aloud. When I do this I often spot mistakes, clumsy phrasing, and sentences that go on too long.

It can feel embarrassing to read out loud to an empty room or to your family, but stick with it. It is a great technique for making your writing sound natural and relaxed. If your mind works better using sound than vision, it allows you to perceive your writing as sounds rather than marks on the page. You could even try recording your own voice reading your draft article and then playing it back.

By the way, don't take labels such as "visual learner" or "auditory learner" as being absolute. I think from my own experience there is some truth in these descriptions, but many psychologists say that the idea of learning styles has little hard evidence behind it.

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  • Thank you so much. Besides just recording my voice is there any programs that come to mind that uses Speech to text similar to texting on phones? Everyone calls me a social butter fly since I talk so much to everyone but I need that to translate into writing.
    – Joe Rosa
    Mar 28, 2017 at 9:54
  • Reading comprehension stated for me based on the testing meant that my mind wonders while I'm reading and I think of other things. I have to read certain things over and over for it to register in my head of what it means. I tend to read children and teen books because its easier for me to understand. It's not that I can't read adult books, doing so would just take me longer.
    – Joe Rosa
    Mar 28, 2017 at 10:00
  • @JoeRosa: Funny, I'm the opposite. If the text is too basic, my mind wanders about. If it's a challenging text (and interesting, but that goes without saying), the whole world gets shut out and only the story/information of the text exists. Mar 28, 2017 at 10:37
  • @JoeRosa, unfortunately I don't know of a good speech-to-text program. I am too old to keep up to date with all the latest programs and apps! You could try googling for reviews of "voice recognition software" or "speech recognition software", or looking in computer magazines. Mar 29, 2017 at 9:35
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I had difficulty recognising certain sounds as a child. In dictations, I got to the point of having 80-90% of the words spelt wrongly. I overcame this problem with copies and reading A LOT.

I don't know what you or the people who diagnosed you mean by 'reading comprehension disability'; what I do know is that you have a difficulty. I don't mean to sound dismissive, but I dislike the word 'disability'; it seems to make a storm out of a shower. Moreover, I remember my terror all too well when I realised I couldn't distinguish between the sounds v and f. I spent years working very hard to overcome it and I can only thank my teachers for not yet having embarked on the theory that you must simplify tests and assignments, or take it easy on the marking, for people with difficulties like mine. They told me that I could make it, I just had to work harder than my colleagues. And I did.

In my view, you overcome your difficulty by reading and writing. A LOT. Start with easy texts (related to your interests and goals) and then move up. Read the texts once in silence, and then read them aloud. Analyse how the text was organised (each chapter should focus on a certain idea). Make diagrams with the events/information (being a visual learner, this should be particularly helpful). Make one diagram per paragraph and then connect the diagrams. This will help you understand the structure of a text before you write one yourself using that structure.

Then you write.

First, create a diagram of your ideas. Imagine you want to mention A, B and C. Write A, B and C on a piece of paper and add a definition for each as well as important factors associated. Make arrows with labels connecting A, B and C and/or factors they share or which are connected in some way.

Secondly, think how you'll organise those ideas into a text. For that, you need to know the basic structure (introduction-development-conclusion) and how to organise multiple ideas within the development section. Remake the diagram in order to mimic how the ideas and connections will be presented in the text.

Thirdly, write. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you have no writing discipline. By this I mean that you have an idea and want to splash it onto a page as fast as possible. You should not put in paper the words running in your mind: one's mind is often chaotic and makes subtle inferences that disappear once you write things down. Force yourself to take it easy and take your time, especially at the beginning.

Get yourself a list of connectors and choose three you feel comfortable with for each function (contrasting ideas, adding ideas, etc). While writing, refer to the list and use them. Make sure the level of formality/informality is the same for the tone of the text and the connectors.

Last but not the least, get yourself a mentor, that is, someone who is willing (and has the skills) to go over your 'reading diagrams', 'writing diagrams' and texts to give you help.

Since you say you speak better that you write, may I suggest that you speak about the topic you want to write? Imagine you are dictating it for someone to write. Record it and then transpose it into writing and analyse it. I may be wrong, but I'm willing to bet you'll find that you write very much as you speak. You see, you can get away with a lot of confusing stuff (skipping, repetition, general disorganisation) while speaking, but not while writing. Moreover, while speaking, you can see if the other person is following you and quickly add more information to clarify any difficulties.

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  • I use to have special classes to help my speech similar to you. I believe I had an issue with my S sounds and something else. I'll use what you said as a guide line to perfect what I'm doing.
    – Joe Rosa
    Mar 28, 2017 at 9:56

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