Reading for pleasure

Nzinga's story: Reading romantic novels

Nzinga Okera talks about overcoming dyslexia and her love of romantic novels.

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Click on the picture above to hear Nzinga Okera's inspiring story.



My name is Nzinga Okera, I work for London Transport and I'm dyslexic.

I didn't know I was dyslexic while I was at school, but I knew I had a reading problem.

I came onto the Underground in my early twenties and I got my other colleagues to do any reading and writing that needed to be done. It's not easy, you know, to tell your colleagues that, you know, "I can’t spell that" or "I can't read that".

I saw a billboard where I live and it said, "Do you have any of these?" And all the things that it had on there – I realised that was me. And down at the bottom it said, "Then you must be…" and unfortunately I couldn't read the word!

I then saw a London Underground book and I recognized the word what was on the billboard. And when I phoned up I spoke to a teacher called Kim who said, "This is dyslexic class", then, "Ah...  so that's what it is."

When I went to my first class I was a little nervous in terms of what was gonna be asked of me and how I was gonna learn. And after the first class, I just thought, "Oh, yeah, this is great. This is gonna really help me." And I've been coming ever since, for about nine years now.

[Reading from Mike Gayle's Men at Work] "Ian Green loves his job. He loves it so much, he won't even take a promotion."

I like reading Mills and Boon's books because they've got a good storyline, they're very romantic. It makes me feel happy when I'm reading them. When you read a book, you're no longer sitting down on the Tube or sitting at home, you're somewhere else.

I find, with the classes, that it's helped me with my grammar, my punctuations, in breaking down words and trying to spell words. Reading more books is knowledge at the end of the day.

Quick tips for tutors

  • A short video about Nzinga Okera, who joined a literacy class and overcame dyslexia.
  • Features her discussing her love of reading, especially romantic fiction.
  • May be used to introduce the topic in class and stimulate discussion around the featured story.