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Author at eight

Natasha Beckles

Author at eight

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IT IS RARE for an eight-year-old boy to publish a book.
It is even rarer for such a boy to be dyslexic.
However, Barbadian Jadyn Forde has overcome several challenges to accomplish a feat which for some adults is only a dream.
Jug-Jug Stories is a compilation of 14 short stories in which Jadyn shares his experiences and lets his imagination run wild.
His mother Lorraine Forde explained that the book was the product of a free six-week publishing course which they undertook in Anguilla where they reside.
During a recent visit to Barbados, she noted that despite his reading and spelling challenges, the pint-sized boy was an excellent storyteller.
“Bedtime stories don’t come from reading a book. We start ‘once upon a time’, I tell part and he continues. We make up our own stories and he’s fantastic, but obviously when it comes to writing it on paper the limitations and the fears step in. So when the free publishing course was offered, I figured it would’ve been a way to give him a little confidence,” she said.Lorraine noted that as Jadyn continued to churn out stories, putting together the book came naturally.
“He’s always loved storytelling. What I would do in the past when he’s telling stories is, especially for school because I know the challenges with spelling and reading, I would record him, and after, we would go through to have him write it out to make it a little easier on him
“He’s very shy but not when it comes to storytelling; he’s a whole different character. Normally, he’s very quiet but when we’re storytelling, he’s very animated,” the doting mother said.
Jadyn, who is a student of the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute, a private school, said one of his favourite stories was about a day at the beach.
“I wrote mostly about me but some stories are made up,” he said, of the book which is available on
Lorraine said the response to the book had been “fantastic” so far with family and friends showing special interest.
“I had done a course at the Caribbean Dyslexia Centre on teaching dyslexics, so I contacted them and they’ve also been putting out the word now,” she said, adding that she would be making every effort to get Jug-Jug Stories into local bookstores.
Despite Jadyn’s success, the road to this point has not been easy and Lorraine shared her experience of parenting a child with dyslexia.
“It wasn’t that Jadyn was failing in school; he was getting As. I’m a very involved mum. I don’t let him do homework on his own. Every evening,
I would allow him to read and he was reading perfectly.
“I would be cooking and doing whatever I needed to do and he would be reading and reading wonderfully until I realized one evening that
Jadyn was reading perfectly with the book upside down,” she said, concluding that her son was “reading from memory”.
“He probably got a friend or somebody to call out the words,” she said.
Lorraine noted that the school system does not cater adequately to dyslexics since Jadyn was not allowed to have a reader or extra time in exams.
“If you give him a verbal test, he’ll score 100. If you give him a written one, he’ll keep scoring in his teens or 20s.
“The way the system is set up, it kind of sets up a child for failure unless you put systems in place,” she said.
Lorraine admitted that she “went into panic mode” when Jadyn was first diagnosed but with the help of the Caribbean Dyslexia Centre, she learnt to cope.
“When we came back on vacation, I called the Dyslexia Centre and did the course. I know it was mostly designed for teachers but I think they heard the panic in my voice. I needed to know how to be there for him or to help him.”
Much calmer these days, Lorraine helps Jadyn to overcome his challenges by making learning fun.
“Children love computer games and all that, so when it comes to reading, if he is playing a video game … I make him read all the little prompts.
“Everything is a teachable moment. If we make up a story and I tell him a word, right away he asks what the word means and I don’t give him, I bring out the laptop,” she said, explaining that Jadyn was fascinated with learning new things.
The eight-year-old is also a fan of sports and is involved in athletics.
He was eager to share his weekly schedule with the SUNDAY SUN.
“Mostly, I would do my homework and then I go to taekwondo on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturdays, I do Cub Scouts and in the morning, I do steel pan,” he said.
Although these activities bring joy to the young boy, they also help with his ability to recall.
“In taekwondo, you have forms where you have to learn ten or 12 moves for one form. I’m always flabbergasted how he remembers that but what I discovered with dyslexics is that things like sport or music help them,” his mum said.
Despite his challenges, Jadyn is eager to continue writing and maybe even publish another book.
He encourages others with learning difficulties not to be afraid of taking such a big step.