Welcome to Common Core Texts, a project by Michael DeJoseph. Here you'll find high-quality reading passages for grades 3 to 12 in ELA, Social Studies, History, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and many other topics.

Struggling to Speak
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

I have a disorder that most people misunderstand. I stutter, which means that I have trouble speaking. I get stuck on certain words, repeating them several times. Even though my problem is shared by around 70 million people worldwide, it is still widely misunderstood. People often think that because I stutter, I must be feeling nervous or anxious. The truth is that my emotions have nothing to do with it. Stuttering is a brain disorder, which means that it can happen regardless of how I am feeling at the time.

Another popular misconception is that because I stutter, I must be slow-witted or stupid. This could not be further from the truth. Many brilliant and successful people stutter, including actor Bruce Willis, former Vice President Joe Biden, and athlete Tiger Woods. Those of us who stutter often feel like our spoken words cannot keep up with our thoughts, which is why we often become excellent writers. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, stuttered. So did short story writer Jorge Luis Borges and journalist Henry Luce.

The most frustrating part of being a stutterer is not my disorder itself, but how people react to it. They often try to finish my sentences for me. I understand that they think they are helping me by finishing my words for me, but the truth is that I would rather they wait for me to express myself. That is why the greatest kindness you can show to a person who stutters is the gift of patience. The right way to speak with a person who stutters is to treat them like you would like to be treated: listen with an open mind instead of waiting to talk, don’t interrupt or talk over them, and treat their ideas with respect.

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