Kate stands center stage and looks out into the audience. 

Kate: Does anyone here spell out loud really well?

Audience members who spell well identify themselves. Kate selects one to speak to. 

Kate: [to audience member who spells well] Would you mind telling me about how you spell out loud? 

If the audience member answers that they are willing, Kate listens to their method or process and asks additional questions about the method/process or any other information she’d like to ask. 

Kate: When I try to spell out loud, I can see the shape of the word in my mind, but when I focus in on letter order things start getting fuzzy, like there is a blurry or confused hole in my visualization of the word. This gets extra tricky when the added pressure of saying it. It’s hard to match my speaking speed with the speed I’m able to decipher the blurry holes and the word. My mind starts racing ahead to think of the next letter and can’t focus on saying the current letter. It turns into a complete mess. Even really simple words can trip me up.

One of the ways I found I could muddle through it was writing out the word in the air. If I write the letters slowly enough and speak them before the visualization fades, it sometimes works. Provided that the word isn’t too long. 

Kate: [to audience member who spells well] What was the first word you were proud of being able to spell out loud?

Audience member says a word. 

Kate: I’ll try to spell it out loud, and you let me know if I get it right, okay?

Kate tries to spell the word out loud. She may use any method at her disposal. Kate checks with the audience member about the correctness of her spelling. Kate reacts to her efforts. 

Kate: That was not a lot of fun for me. Which complicates something that happened recently. One day, a word flashed in my mind. It was so clear and solid in my visualization that I could’ve just read out each letter. Then, a day later, the same thing happened with another word. Each letter was distinct and completely unmuddled. I could have easily said it out loud and felt confident in my spelling.

Sometimes my brain gives me strange miracles. It’s good to remember that, whether I 

[Finish with either “do manage to spell out loud.” or “can’t spell out loud.” depending on the results of the earlier spelling challenge.]