Mollie King: Dyslexia made reading aloud ‘scary and intimidating’

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“The most scary, intimidating time,” that’s how Mollie King remembers having to stand up and read out loud in school.

“I would always try and make an excuse to leave the classroom,” the BBC Radio 1 presenter tells Newsbeat.

Thanks to her teacher spotting there was a problem she was tested and diagnosed with dyslexia when she was 10 years old.

The disorder affects reading, writing and spelling.

Mollie is now an ambassador for the British Dyslexic Association and has given a speech in parliament in front of a group who were looking at learning difficulties.

“Actually having that diagnosis was a huge relief,” she adds, “you kind of imagine you’d feel really down about it but for me everything clicked into place because I knew what it was.”

The 31-year-old says she was given techniques to help.

“Reading through a coloured sheet really helps – the colour that works for me is yellow.

“If I put it over, it means I can read from left to right and it stops the words popping out on the page.”

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Mollie presents the weekend breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 with Matt Edmondson

“Even reading out texts from listeners at Radio 1, I always get them highlighted in a colour.”

“I’ll always pre-read the texts before doing it live, just because otherwise I’ll read the words in the wrong order – which nobody wants to hear!”

Before becoming a presenter she was a singer in The Saturdays: “In the band I couldn’t read the lyrics at the pace of the song so I would have to learn the whole song by heart before recording it as I couldn’t rely on reading the lyrics.”

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The other girls knew about her dyslexia but she says “didn’t want to ever make a big deal about it”

Mollie says there was a “warm and lovely vibe” at the all-party parliamentary group discussion yesterday.

“It was to have a conversation about where we’re at, what we think the education system’s like.”

“I have so much respect for teachers and they have so much to deal with but I think we need more training for teachers to be able to spot if a student’s dyslexic.”

“I learnt that 80% of students with it are undiagnosed.”

“That’s just heartbreaking – because I know how difficult it can makes things being dyslexic and just knowing you are and knowing there’s a reason why you’re finding it difficult just makes you feel so much better.”

“If there’s any way the education system could help this at all, any improvement is a positive.”

Mollie’s advice if you’re struggling or think you may have dyslexia:

“You’re not alone – it’s something to be proud of we shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed and really focus in on those things you are good at.

For me it knocked my confidence because I couldn’t keep up with the pace they read at [in school].

“Focus on those things that you’re good at – maybe you’re sporty or maybe you’re very creative.”

For more information on dyslexia head to BBC Advice.

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