Editorial: Monday mix on dyslexia; Scrabble; Jewish Book Award

  • Gibby Booth hosts a podcast called “Dyslexia is Our Superpower” at her office in Hadley. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 2/18/2018 10:50:52 PM

Dyslexia, a nightmare for massage therapist Gibby Booth when she was younger, is now the subject of her inspirational podcast that helps others cope with the learning disability.

Booth, 27, of Hadley, calls her podcast “Dyslexia is Our Superpower.” Each week she hosts interviews via Skype with people who have worked to overcome dyslexia.

She remembers as a child not knowing why she struggled with reading and numbers. It’s like her eyes are playing tricks on her — when she reads, the words seem to float on a page, she can’t keep her place and she has to repeatedly go over the same paragraph. She compensated in school by spending long hours studying.

“I thought two things: one that I was stupid and two that I can’t let anyone know,” Booth said. “I was worried that if my family saw it they wouldn’t love me as much because I was flawed.”

She did well enough to be accepted by the University of Maryland, where she studied animal science. But she couldn’t keep up with the college-level work, and her grades plummeted. Realizing that she needed help, Booth was tested by a clinical psychologist, resulting in the diagnosis of dyslexia.

Booth then understood that she has a different learning style that needed accommodations, such as extra time on exams and homework assignments.

She began her podcasts in August to highlight how others are dealing with dyslexia. In one of her recent episodes, she talked with three siblings in Michigan who record videos of themselves reading books that are posted online so other children with learning disabilities can listen.

“Having reading disabilities themselves, they know how difficult reading can be, but they also know how amazing it is to get lost in a great story and to be transported to another world,” Booth said. “I want fellow dyslexics to know that they are not alone. I need to make sure that especially kids know that they are not stupid because of their dyslexia.”

We commend Booth for finding a way to smooth the journey for others with the disability.

To listen to her “Dyslexia is Our Superpower” podcast, visit gibbybooth.com.

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Kudos to the Northampton Scrabble Club for combining an afternoon of fun with raising money for three local nonprofits.

More than 50 players of all levels filled a room at the American Legion in Florence on Feb. 10, for the first of what the Northampton club’s director, Brett Constantine, hopes will be an annual charitable event.

Players were asked to donate between $10 and $40 to participate. Some 40 people and businesses donated raffle prizes worth more than $1,000. The event raised $1,725, which was split evenly among the Cancer Connection, Northampton Survival Center and Climate Action Now.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to have fun and support the community,” said Bett Farber, of Northampton. “I am a beginner, but I wanted to come and give top dollar because I really appreciate my community and these organizations.”

We appreciate the dedication of all the Scrabble players for whom “charity” was more than just a seven-letter word.

The Northampton Scrabble Club meets at 5:30 p.m. Mondays in the community room of the Burger King restaurant at 344 King St.

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Congratulations to Richard Michelson, of Amherst, for the recognition given to his latest children’s book, “The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew.” It earned both a National Jewish Book Award and a Sydney Taylor Gold Medal, which recognizes Jewish children’s literature.

Michelson, the longtime owner of R. Michelson Galleries on Main Street in Northampton, is a former poet laureate for the city in addition to being a well-known children’s book author.

“The Language of Angels” is based on the true story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a lexicographer and newspaper editor in Jerusalem who in the 1880s made Hebrew an everyday language for Jews after for years it had been spoken only for prayers. He insisted that his son, Ben-Zion, only speak and hear Hebrew.

Michelson said he hopes the awards draw attention to his book and broaden its appeal. “This is kind of a niche book, but ideally (the awards) will make people give it a closer look, people who ordinarily wouldn’t be interested,” he said.

We’re certain that the people drawn to his book will find it an enjoyable and instructive read.




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