Tag Archives: illiteracy

Corrie Street Nov. 30/14

Illiteracy Skills

Faye reacts to illiteracy you-sent-me-messagesAmid all the tutting about ‘why didn’t your teachers notice?’ and ‘why didn’t you tell me?’, Faye made the best observation about Tim’s inability to read: “You must be dead clever”. Getting by in a word-based world when you can’t read has to take great skill. Hiding it from everyone, including your nearest-and-dearest, takes even more skill.

Sally, and pretty much the whole street, found out about Tim’s illiteracy. She made it all tim-in-letter-slotabout her, but that’s understandable at least to an extent. He did not adequately explain his frequent absences and his presence with Anna. Sally feared he and Anna were having an affair, and seeing him give Anna flowers seemed to confirm it. Even Maddie came to believe he was doing the dirty on Sally.

So, as Sally chucked his belongings out the upstairs window, he had little choice but to tell you-want-himher what he and Anna were really up to – reading lessons. He’s embarrassed that everyone knows. Sally goes from gobsmacked to self-recrimination, that she hadn’t noticed, to Tim-recrimination for not trusting her enough to tell her and ask her for help. After all, she points out, she has plenty of experience from helping Rosie and Sophie with their homework, and look how well they turned out.

Duelling Teachers

annaAnna gets a chance to rub Sally’s nose in her erroneous conclusions about “Anna Slutty Windass” and plans to continue the lessons with Tim. But it will be duelling teachers because Sally quickly did her internet research and gathered her glossy magazines as teaching aids.

If I were Tim, I’d take up Faye’s offer of help. Much more straightforward and much less emotionally loaded. Also she would be likely as good if not better at teaching. If I were the show’s producer, you-can-readI’d link this storyline to the new community centre. Where better to have adult literacy classes? It would bring the centre back to our screens and make use of a brand-new set. It would also show a real-life issue with both characters we know  and a larger community.  I would feel bad for subjecting poor Tim to Yasmeen’s attentions because, for sure, she’d be there with bells on.  But it would be fun to watch.

Corrie Street Oct. 12/14

When I’m Cleaning Widows

maddie-with-flyersI am liking the story of Tim’s problem with reading. It is fitting, and nice, that it is Maddie who has recognized his difficulties. It was Tim who, early on, recognized good qualities in her and shielded her as best he could from the wrath of Sally. Now she is doing the same for him. And, as she did, he is resisting her efforts.

I read an objection to this storyline (sorry, can’t find it now).  Tim made contact with Faye through Facebook. If he can’t read, how dirty-widows pamphlet for cleaning windowscould that happen? Fair point. But he can read a bit. He got the word “ref” when Sally pointed to a newspaper headline. Before he lived with Sally, he lived alone. There is no reason he would not be able to make some use of Facebook. He would have had the time to decipher words, even compose messages, with nobody around to question why it was taking him so long. Also online posting is hardly the bastion of correct grammar or spelling.

plenty-of-thingsHe told Maddie that the letters look all “jumbled”. I wonder if the issue is dyslexia rather than not having learned to read. Whatever the problem is, he has developed coping strategies. It is someone like Maddie, attuned to survival without the correct tools, who recognizes his techniques.

Coping strategies

For example, in Dev’s shop, when he hands Sally’s shopping list to Sophie saying “you know where everything is,” Sophie thinks he’s just being lazy or chauvinistic. Sophie has seen and heard all you-learn-new-waysthe same interactions with Tim and Sally that Maddie has, but she doesn’t pick up the cues of what they might mean. Sophie did not have problems in school and, for all her concern for social issues, she really doesn’t know much about society outside her own little street. Maddie does, and she saw right away that something more might be going on with Tim and his reluctance for paperwork.

what-did-you-sayIt was Tim’s advertising flyer that put the cat amongst the pigeons. Of course, “dirty widows” was a mistake that the printer ought to have caught. But mistakes happen. My husband remembers hearing about an error made in a town’s commemorative pin.

maddie-and-tim-watch-sally-on-phoneFlags – he’s not sure of the number, maybe seven – and the town’s motto, “Under 7 flags”, were on the pins.  But the printer omitted the ‘l’ in ‘flags’. No one noticed until after the pins had been handed out. Oops.

Here is George Formby’s 1936 song When I’m Cleaning Windows.