Growing up in rural Arkansas, Literacy Council student Oree Bradley faced many challenges as a child. When rains would wash out the dirt road he lived on, a lack of transportation to and from school made it hard for him to attend regularly. When he did go, he was slow to learn, so teachers focused on other students. Even though he was given a high school diploma, Mr. Bradley never learned to read.
"Because I couldn't read, I missed out on a lot of things in life," Mr. Bradley said. "I was not able to go to the military, and I was stuck without a lot of options for work."
He described this inability to read as a "dark corner" where he stayed for more than 60 years. That all changed when he came to the Literacy Council and began working with Patti Huckabee, a retired dyslexia specialist.
"I saw that he was showing some of the classic signs of dyslexia," Mrs. Huckabee said. "I wanted to try to help, and once we began working together, it was like a light came on for him."
Mrs. Huckabee and Mr. Bradley have been working together since the spring, and even in that short amount of time, he has made incredible progress. His main motivation was to be able to read the Bible, and on Father's Day, he read Job 11:18 for his church congregation: "having hope will give you courage," a fitting verse for his educational journey. Mr. Bradley continues to learn new reading skills and makes progress every single day. However, he is not the only one whose journey has been blessed.
"Working with Mr. Oree has changed my perspective completely," Mrs. Huckabee said. "Although I have a true compassion for anyone who struggles, I have never worked with someone who spent their entire life in this 'dark corner.' I have actually learned as much from him as he has from me, and I would encourage any retired teacher to come share their expertise. There is not a day that you volunteer that you aren't blessed."
Mr. Bradley's main goal is to be able to read the Bible. When he read Job 11:18 at his church, his Literacy Council family was there to celebrate. Watch the video of that moment at the link below.
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