GUIDELINES FOR SUBMITTING YOUR LITERACY STORY

Before you tell your story, think about your goals. What do you want to promote or achieve, and for whom? Decide what aspects of your story you feel comfortable sharing. Identify and share any resources, actions, and people that helped you along the way. Focus on hope and healing rather than just the struggle.


When you tell your story, introduce yourself. Describe who you are, what you do, and a bit about yourself. Keep this section brief, and be mindful of sharing identifying information if you are not comfortable doing so. There may be details that are important but are neither necessary nor appropriate to share.


Think about the most important thing you'd like your listener to know. Share your experience of reading struggles or victories. What happened before you received the help you needed? Describe how you found help and hope, or not. What helped you, or what barriers prevented you from moving ahead successfully? Sharing the steps you took to become successful illustrates the value of support and provides resources for others. Your struggle shows others that they are not alone.

 

By sharing our learning experiences, we all can change the conversation about 'reading failure' for some to 'reading success' for all.

When submitting a story, please consider the following:


  • Think about the privacy of loved ones, friends, and strangers mentioned in your story. Be respectful when sharing details of others' lives.
  • Tell your story through your perspective. Try not to make assumptions about how others in your account are feeling or thinking. 
  • Please avoid suggesting that another person's circumstances are better or worse than your own.
  • Use respectful language. If your post is critical, which it can be, it should also be constructive.
  • We welcome both person-first language (i.e. "person with dyslexia") and identity-first language (i.e., "dyslexic person").

 

We're here to help, and we're grateful that you've chosen The Margaret Byrd Rawson Institute to share your story.

Share your learning to read literacy struggles and/or success stories here:

Guidelines for Shooting a Video: 


To help you tell your story most effectively, we have created some simple video shooting guidelines for you to follow:

  • Use an iPhone or Android smartphone, iPad or Android tablet, a good-quality camera phone, or a video camera.
  • Please capture the video of your story in landscape mode instead of in portrait mode. (See example below.)
  • A 16:9 aspect ratio is preferred over 4:3. This is in the options on your smartphone or camera. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to
    change it.
  • When possible, shoot where there is bright and even lighting. (Daylight coming in a window is great.)
  • Make sure that there is no background noise. If you're inside, TV/radio/phones should be turned off, and there should be no noise from people or pets. If you're outdoors, ensure that it's not windy, that you're not near roads with traffic noises, and there are no other people talking/yelling.
  • Keep your background clean and tidy. If you're inside, shooting in front of a blank wall or in a clean room with minimal furniture is ideal. Please check that there is no clutter. If you're outdoors, choose a nice view as the background, such as a tree, a park, a mountain, or a large rock.
  • Point the camera straight on, not angled upward or downward.
  • Hold the camera as steady as possible. Use a tripod if you have one.
  • If you are familiar with the "rule of thirds", this is preferred when composing the shot. (See examples below.) You may also center yourself in the shot if the rule of thirds is difficult.

If you are holding the camera:


If you don't have another person to help you, you may use the selfie mode on your smartphone to take the video. Please keep it in landscape mode. You can then just ask yourself the questions, and we will edit that part out. Come from the heart with your response and be genuine!


If you have someone holding the camera for you:


If possible, have another person hold the camera for you. If you want, the person filming can ask you the questions, interview-style. This style will allow the conversation to flow more naturally than you trying to memorize a script.

 

If you have more than one teaching tip you want to share:


Please separate into different vlogs. Our goal is to ideally have each video be 2-4 minutes long and focus on a specific teaching tip.

 

Don't worry about being perfect: 


We may edit the video once you send it to us, so it's okay if you have a few pauses, you say "um" a few times, or you want to restart and reflect over again. Speak clearly, loudly, and confidently. Make eye contact with the person interviewing you, not the camera. If you are filming by yourself, just focus on a spot on the wall behind the camera to look at, as if you were looking at a person.


Remember to only talk about your learning to read, parent, or teaching reading experience. You can also send a video on how the Transforming Education webinars and telesummit has helped you or talk about what transformation you would like to see in education!

Guidelines for Taking Better Photos:

Almost all phones today can take great photos, so you don't need to worry about having a top-of-the-line camera to get high-quality images, but there are some basic things you can do to improve your photos right away.

Make Sure Your Subject Is in Focus


Autofocus is your friend, but if you aren't sure, tap your subject on the screen (on the phone) or lightly press the shutter button (on a camera) before taking the picture, so everything is clear.

Turn Off Auto-Flash


Even though the flash will illuminate your subject, it can leave it in harsh light. Try turning off the flash and letting the phone/camera capture your subject in low light. If you still can't get a good photo, turn on your flash and see if it turns out all right.

Rule of Thirds


The rule of thirds is the principal that photos look better when your subject isn't right in the middle of the scene. Place them to either side, with maybe another secondary element to interest the eye on the other side, and you have a recipe for a winning photo.

Horizontal Photos


Hold your phone sideways to get a horizontal photo. We will be using horizontal images almost exclusively, so to avoid excessive cropping of the image, take your picture horizontally.

Shoot From a Low Angle


Shooting from a low angle makes people and other subjects more interesting only because we're not used to looking at them from that perspective. If you want your child to stand out in the photo, for instance, you should get down to their height. Don't be afraid to get close!

Send Us the Full-Size Photo


Don't worry about the file size; just send us the full-size photo (at least 1280 pixels wide), and we'll take it from there!

Share your learning to read literacy struggles and/or success stories here: