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Step Out on Nothing

9780312577667  "One of the many great discoveries that came out of my illiteracy is the joy that can exist on the other side of heartache. It can be like the relief you feel after a good cry..."

from Step Out on Nothing, by Byron Pitts (St. Martin's Press, 2009)

Byron Pitts, a "60 Minutes" television journalist, was functionally illiterate until the sixth grade. He had developed ways of hiding his learning disabilities, but finally after assistance from both the usual and unexpected places, he was able to overcome them. The subtitle of Pitts's memoir, "How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges," is certainly true, but much of his success rests on his own shoulders. A determined optimist since his boyhood in inner-city Baltimore, Pitts learned the "value of hard, honest work," which also applied to some emotionally charged family dynamics.

Functionally illiterate in fifth grade and now a "60 Minutes" correspondent and author. Wow. Step Out on Nothing is an inspiring story, needless to say. Although not written specifically for teens, I think many would get a lot out of this book.

Pitts's memoir comes in #2 on journalist Kam Williams's list Top Ten Best Black Books of 2009

Pitts, Byron. Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges. St. Martin's Press, 2009. ISBN-10: 0312577664. ISBN-13: 978-0312577667. 


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I am so impressed and joyful about this book. I always think literacy is a work in progress and all of us go through stages of learning and comprehension, and if literacy were approached in this way maybe it would not leave so many innocent, beautiful children alone in their need to understand reading more and more. It is sad we do this to children, ever! I'd love to teach literacy skills to adults so we can give as many people creative solutions to a problem they did not cause. Since I'm new here, I'm not sure where to offer to do this (any ideas?!).

Elaine, the Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport is a hub of adult literacy and learning (GED, etc.) for women. That's the first place I would check.

Byron Pitts's story is amazing. I think you'd like it.

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