Susan's Story Susan was born in a mill town in Massachusetts. Her mother was 16 years old when she was born. Her mother and her father worked at the mill. Her mother worked days. Her father worked nights. Susan had two little brothers. When Susan was five her father died. Her mother had to quit work. She had to take care of the children.

Susan started school the next year. She didn't like school. She didn't like to read out loud. The other kids laughed at her. She liked to be at home. She liked to help her mother.

The classes were very big. Susan was quiet. No one knew she couldn't read. Her teachers didn't know. Her mother didn't know. She was embarrassed to say anything. No one had the time to help her. She began to think she wasn't as smart as she should be. As soon as she could, she quit school. She got a job. The money helped her mother.

When Susan was 16 she got married. Soon she had her own little girl. When her little girl was 8 years old, she found out her mother couldn't read. "Mommy, why can't you read?" she asked. Susan didn't know what to say.

Why do you think Susan can't read?

Gillespie et al. 1990, p. 11 1 Back to Retention


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