By Dan Bewley & Scott Thompson, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- One in five Oklahomans can't read or write. That means some adults can't read prescriptions or even street signs. The Tulsa City-County Library is working to solve the problem.
A Thursday morning read-along in the park is a good way to introduce the joys of reading to children.
"The earlier they start the higher their vocabulary and the more interest they have," said Tracy Lee.
But for Amy Cooper learning how to read was a real challenge.
"When I started out in elementary I just wasn't picking it up as quickly as everybody else," Cooper said.
She never caught up and eventually graduated high school but only read at a third grade level.
"I felt like a failure, I felt like a disappointment," she said. "And I just never thought I would amount to anything."
She was able to get jobs here and there but spent most of her time trying to keep her inability to read a secret.
"I got really good at hiding it from my friends and family," Cooper said. "I was good at having people read the books to me and memorize what they said."
But the Tulsa City-County Library's focus goes beyond helping children learn how to read. It also has a program for adults.
"We don't realize how much we need reading skills," said Cassie Tudyk, Tulsa City-County Library. "For example, a lot of people in our program don't know how to read a prescription bottle, they don't know how to when they go the store they can't write checks.
Amy graduated from the program and recently made the honor roll at Tulsa Community College. She says it's changed her life, before she was hopeless about the future, now she's hopeful of what's to come.
"I feel that now with these skills that I've learned that I can do anything with my life," she said.
The program is free and for anyone 16 and over who can read at a 6th grade level or below. You meet one on one with tutor once a week.