No longer ‘too stupid,’ literacy transforms teen’s life


Little things, such as misspelling a word on a truck’s GPS system, used to freak out Haven Edmunds.

A teenager old enough to have a driver’s license, Edmunds could barely read or write.

He was afraid that if he typed a street name in wrong and got lost, he would not be able to find his way home.

And it went deeper than that.

“I thought I couldn’t do anything,” Edmunds said. “I thought I was too stupid to do anything.”

He was wrong.

But to believe in himself, he first had to connect with others who believed in him.

He found them in a windowless office space on the backside of a Hendersonville strip mall. A group of women who, for the past several years, have spent hours by his side to help him learn to sound out the word “immeasurable” or define the word “languor.”

They sit together — volunteers and student — in the workbook-filled room occupied by the Literacy Council of Middle Tennessee and bend their heads over bolded vocabulary words. With each sentence read allowed, they advance Edmunds’ reading comprehension, even if ever so slightly.


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