Bahr Tells Her Reading Story
Assistant Professor of Literature Stephanie Bahr recently published a personal essay about reading and teaching as a scholar with a disability. “How I Read, a History; or ‘San Francisco Banking Contains No Trans Fats’” appears in How We Read: Tales, Fury, Nothing, Sound from Punctum Press. The open-access collection, edited by Kaitlin Heller and Suzanne Conklin Akbari, is a publication of Punctum Press.
Bahr’s essay describes difficulties she has with reading and the testing that led to a diagnosis for what she calls her “neurological quirks.”
“For me, reading is hard — harder than writing. I tire easily. I make mistakes. I must go very slowly,” Bahr said. “In retrospect,” she wrote, “it was a problem not only of processing speed, but of visual and working memory.”
She describes how, though it was not easy, she used adaptive techniques to make it from elementary school all the way through graduate school.
Bahr does not try to hide her “neurological quirks” from her students and encourages her then to use some of her strategies or experiment with their own to help them get past their own barriers to learning.
“I’ve found that publicly asking for and accepting help from my students encourages them to accept help from me and their peers as well; trusting my students helps them trust me in return.”