My Celebrity Life

Jay Blades ’emotional’ over ‘lightbulb moment’ in reading documentary as he tackles three-letter words

Jay shares his reading journey with viewers of the documentary (Pictures: BBC)

The Repair Shop star Jay Blades found himself overcome with emotion after a breakthrough moment during his documentary about learning to read, as he conquered three-letter words.

In the one-off BBC programme Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51, the expert furniture restorer embarked on a six-month learning journey, taking one-on-one lessons over Zoom via the charity Read Easy.

Having left school with no qualifications, and later being diagnosed with dyslexia, the presenter revealed his ultimate goal was to read a bedtime story to his teenage daughter Zola, ahead of her 16th birthday.

Admitting it was the ‘hardest thing I’ve ever done’, part way through the film – having struggled with phonics and the word ‘egg’ previously – Jay’s sixth reading lesson saw him tackle vowels and sounding words out, in order to drop the right vowel into the right gap to form words.

Hesitant at first when presented with the letters ‘c’ and ‘t’ and saying ‘it can’t be “u”’, he then sounded the word out and declared: ‘Oh, you’re joking. It’s “cut”, man! Come on.

‘I really thought you couldn’t do it!’

The presenter had to emply a lot of patience in learning to read (Picture: BBC/Hungry Bear/Ben Gregory-Ring)
He recalled his single mum didn’t have time to read him stories when he was young (Picture: Jay Blades)

As the sounds and words he knew started to link to what was on the page in front of him in his exercises, he added: ‘Cor blimey, you got me all emotional there – Jesus Christ!

‘I couldn’t even see that that said “cot”!’

He then held up his filled-in worksheet to the camera, joking: ‘Bosh! There you go.’

Laughing in triumph, he continued: ‘This is mad you know. It’s quite like, “Woah!” Like when you sound it out, it makes sense. I can do it!’

As he delighted in a ‘lightbulb moment’ with his tutor, he chortled: ‘And it’s only three letters, innit.’

The documentary delves into Jay’s chequered past too, as he admits in the voice over: ‘I wonder what my 20-year-old self would think of me learning three-letter words in my fifties… I was a very different Jay back in the 90s.’

As well as talking about the lasting impact being in the ‘learner’ class at school had on him, losing his job as a youngster and turning to ‘a few local cannabis deliveries’, alongside a later mental breakdown, the star also meets with offenders, adults and teenagers who struggle with literacy to discover their stories too.

Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51 airs at 9pm on Wednesday January 26 and is available on BBC iPlayer.


Credit: Original article published here.

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