I have always had difficulty reading
My reading difficulties persisted. I never finished a single book in high school, but no one knew. I got by instead by paying attention. I listened closely and watched the teacher. My brain went into overdrive sussing out the gist of things through the teacher's incremental shifts of tone, body language and facial expression. I focused on context and relationships, I identified themes, I teased out broader underpinnings and connective threads. I could see the shapes of ideas and how they fit together like puzzle pieces. In my book reports, I’d weave these pieces together into something relevant and new. Sometimes, to be sure I hid my shameful secret, I’d cull a few details from the text itself, but I didn’t have to. The details, I realized, didn’t matter. There is no intrinsic value to them or to the skill of reading if you don’t also possesses the ability to step back and discern some overall meaning.