28-year-old overcomes obstacles, learns to read

by Nora Chahbazi

Please scroll down to share a comment for Tyler after you've read his story to further motivate him and also help him practice his reading. Thank you for giving him this priceless gift!

Tyler wanted to end his life. Now he's excited to live it.

When we first met Tyler, he was living a very difficult life. His suicide attempt had been aborted thanks to his dad and he'd been incarcerated.

Part of his brain had been removed to alleviate his seizures. From a young age, he was put in classes to teach him life skills rather than academics.

At 25, Tyler's school agreed to pay for outside instruction until he was 26 if his mom promised to remove him from the school. Their only way to control him was to lock him out of the building. His mom, Michelle, was not willing to give up on him!

"At first reading is hard, and then you can't stop doing it. Never give up!"
- Tyler

When he first came to Ounce of Prevention Reading Center in June of 2014, Tyler was on over 30 medications. He could only read the word 'is' and he couldn't write.

His fury was barely contained. We felt frightened by the anger in his eyes.

Two years and 100 EBLI lessons later, Tyler is now a very different person: a reader, a writer, an employee, off all but 2 medications, graduated from mental health court, kind, and a delight to be around.

Tyler is pictured with Cricket and Shannon, his dedicated EBLI instructors.

Only recently was Tyler willing to share his story and his picture. He hopes that his willingness to share will make a difference and help others.

Tyler had always been ashamed that he couldn't read. He did not want people to know. He did not want to be judged because of it.

"Tyler inspires me every time he is here."
Cricket McCarthy, EBLI Reading Therapist

"Tyler has so much to give, I'd love to see him mentor others who've had experiences similar to his."
Shannon Olsen, EBLI Reading Therapist

In the beginning, he used the EBLI apps for beginning readers. At his 87th session, he read 78 words with 2 errors in a minute! He practices reading in books many hours a day at home, texting words he's not sure of to his mom and even Shannon and Cricket. He wants to read as well and as fluently as they do; he's well on his way!

Tyler's shame is shifting to pride. His frustration has morphed into determination. He works doggedly because he knows he can succeed, when before he thought it wasn't a possibility.

We're so very proud of Tyler! If you'd like to help him practice his reading, please share your thoughts in a comment below.

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14 thoughts on “28-year-old overcomes obstacles, learns to read

  1. Mary Behrenwald

    Thank you, Tyler, for sharing your story with me. You have a lot to be proud of! Your determination and perseverance will take you far. Congratulations!!!

  2. Cathy

    Tyler you should be so proud of yourself! Hard work will help you reach your goals. You inspire me to work even harder with the kids I teach. Rock On!!

  3. Karen Lewis

    Tyler, your story is a most amazing one! Thank you for sharing it and inspiring all of us to work hard to strengthen our skills. You are going to accomplish much in the years ahead. Congratulations and good luck!

  4. Gary Jensen

    So happy to hear about your successes! Keep grinding and keep reading!! Your story just makes me smile and want to make sure that all people that may need help learning to read, know about EBLI!
    Have a great day and make sure to continue to tell your story so others can be inspired by what you have accomplished!

  5. Karen

    Tyler- I believe that your story will inspire others who are struggling like you were. Thanks for taking the risk of sharing. You may just save the life of someone else who has given up. You have worked hard and no one can take away what you have gained. May God continue to bless you.

  6. Andrea

    This is an amazing story and a powerful testament to the power of the "pen/word" being mightier than the sword. Congratulations, Tyler! Keep fighting, keep working, keep going! Way to go, EBLI peeps, too! What an accomplishment all around.

  7. Wyatt Webb


    Hearing your story just gives me more motivation to do what I do. I helped create the iPad apps that you used. I do it because I hope it can help people learn and improve their lives. Hearing what a difference it made to you means a lot.

    Congratulations and keep after it!

  8. Kelly Johnson


    What gifts you have been given to have a mom that refused to give up until she found a way to help you and to have found the wonderful people at EBLI. I admire your determination and perseverance. Keep up the hard work. There is no doubt that you will succeed in all that you set out to do! Please keep sharing your story!

    Kelly Johnson

  9. Jack

    I can't imagine the pain of not being able to read. Life poses so many challenges, the majority of which require reading. This is especially true as one enters adulthood. We in education must never lose sight of the difference we can make. The rate of a student's improvement is often so gradual we educators can let frustration creep in at times. Tyler's story proves that a student truly cared about by a teacher armed with a powerful tool like EBLI can learn to read. The pain of not being able to read can morph into a love for reading. The doors for living life can then open to a myriad possibilities. Tyler's grit (as well as Cricket's and Shannon's) is inspiring.

  10. Elizabeth, Canada

    I think what you have accomplished is amazing and wonderful. I hope that you achieve all that you hope to. Your story is an inspiration to me as a mom to keep working as hard as I can with my son. Way to go! Thank you to the staff at EBLI Reading Centre you are making a difference to all those that you come in contact with!!!

  11. Cricket McCarthy

    I shared your story on my timeline and below are a few responses I wanted to share with you! Keep up the great work my friend!!

    1. Elizabeth A Donnelly-Johnson: Great job Tyler...too many people give up when it gets tough but you are tougher and pushed through it...congrats!

    2. Molly Maginity-Carswell: Congratulations Tyler! Your hard work and determination is simply amazing!!!

    3. Lenora Hogg Congratulations Tyler. God has a special purpose for you. Stay strong & just believe all things are possible.

    4. Dale Reynolds Eminisor: Way to go, never give up ‼

    5. Barbara Haber-Grinnell: Wow!!! Awesome story Tyler!!! You are an inspiration and an overcomer!! Keep it up!!!


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