Growing up with dyslexia was not easy for 25-year-old Christer Egon Eckermann. As a young boy he experienced reading to be a bit of a chore, and he could not manage to find any joy in the task.
Christer had numerous individuals who worked alongside him to help him improve his reading skills. But for all the individuals that were there to support him, there was still a lack of programs, activities or incentives that motivated him to read. For a number of years he found it to be a challenging, uphill climb.
It was not until he reached secondary school that things really began to change. As he began studying media and communication, he uncovered a hunger for learning, and a totally new interest in reading. As Christer explains it: “suddenly creativity was rewarded at every corner. The first books I got of my own incentive and actually enjoyed were theoretical picture composition and film-making books. Reading needed a strong incentive, and these books had a lot of value for me.”
Christer found something that he was passionate about, something that engaged him. He had tapped into his creativity and found ways to explore and expand it. After years of struggle, it was finally no longer just about the action of reading. He’d discovered his “it factor” that made reading enjoyable.
As I sit at my computer and re-tell this story for Christer and for our readers, I feel encouraged. I myself am the mother of a child with dyslexia, so it does my heart good to hear stories of overcomers. I am inspired by people who don’t use a diagnosis as an excuse, but rather as motivation.
And that is exactly what Christer has done.
He had his challenges as he started out. Yet, never one to shy away when faced with adversity, he worked hard. He made his way through school in Norway. He went on to study computer animation at Swansea Metropolitan University, located in Wales (UK).
And he is now the co-founder of Snuti, a creative design company based out of Horten (Norway), a company he started with his equally-creative wife, Clare.
And if all that wasn’t enough, for the last three years, he and Clare have been the creative minds behind Sommerles, the Norwegian library system’s summer reading campaign. From the graphic design of print materials and prizes, to the uber-cool interactive web-based program itself, the duo has collaborated with writers and other creatives, developing a program that encourages children in twelve of Norway’s counties (fylker) to fall in love with reading during their summer break.
I see Christer as a bridge-builder. While Sommerles is for all children in 1-7 grades, I can’t help but consider his background and the fact that he is building bridges for those who struggle with reading. He and his fellow creatives are developing programs to encourage reading at an early age, to a variety of children from various backgrounds and education levels, through the use of social media-style connections, interactive storytelling, and both digital and physical prizes.
Christer believes that dyslexia has taught him a lot, including patience, and that only by taking your time will you experience results.
Overcoming the challenges of dyslexia. Uncovering his own passions and interests. Discovering the joy of reading. And ultimately encouraging a nation of children to read. As I sit and watch my own son enthusiastically reading and participating in the Sommerles program, I applaud Christer for his resilient attitude, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his refusal to give up.
Christer & Clare founded Snuti in 2012. They specialize in various creative projects, including game and application development, website and jewelry design, and more.