Woman, 65, wins prize after ending a lifetime of being unable to read

Portsmouth MP visits his former childhood stomping ground

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ABANDONED by her parents at just six months old, Moon Englefield never had the chance to learn to read.

But now the 65-year-old, who lives in Gosport, can read and write after spending two years being taught by a volunteer coach in the town.

BOOK PRIZE Moon Englefield received  a learner award from Read and Grow Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (131238-5474)

BOOK PRIZE Moon Englefield received a learner award from Read and Grow Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (131238-5474)

At six months Moon lived in Singapore and was brought up, with brother aged four, by her sister Chee, then 13, who could not afford to send her to school.

After marrying a British sailor and moving to Gosport when she was 20, Moon worked hard – hiding her illiteracy any way she could.

She trained as a cook and took home recipe books to her daughters, Barbara and Shalon, now 46 and 44, and asked them to read them aloud so she could memorise the instructions.

But that is no longer a problem – as her South East Regional Individual Learner Award from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education proves.

She was taught by Linda Curtis, 68, of Malvern Road in Gosport, who is a volunteer at the town’s illiteracy group, Read and Grow.

Moon, said: ‘I’m overjoyed, they are brilliant people to fix me up.

‘I’m so pleased with myself to have met the people who helped me to read.

‘It means a lot to me. All my life that’s all I wanted – to learn to read like everybody else who can pick up a book and read. Now I can fill my own forms in and I can read quite a bit, without them I can’t do it. I’m still learning, I want to go further.’

Moon claims it is her powerful memory that saw her through the dark years of being illiterate, allowing her to become an expert seamstress and cook.

She added she remains sad she could not help her daughters with their homework.

The hard work that led to her success began when she was in Gosport Discovery Centre in High Street.

She overheard a man being taught to read by Andy Paradise, founder of Read and Grow, and months later asked him for help.

The group uses a book called Yes We Can Read, which initially uses a photo alphabet to teach letters. The book is a teaching tool, split into two parts for coach and learner.

And Moon’s coach Linda has nothing but praise for her.

She said: ‘It’s such an achievement at the age of 63 to start to read.

‘It is something we all take for granted when we are young.’

She said it was vital for children to be taught by parents before they go to school.