Ralph Burns can paint. He can also play music. But until recently, the 64-year-old Tennessee native couldn’t read.
Then along came literacy teacher Sydney Osborne. For the past year and a half, she met with Burns every week to teach him to read. It wasn’t easy.
Ralph told the Today show,
“I was abandoned from a child. They gave me away and another guy raised me...He sent me to school, but they couldn’t learn me. They just let me sleep in school and they wouldn’t teach me or nothing... I quit school and gone on my own. And I learned a skill and I started making money,”
But now he can read the sign he stops at. He can read the lyrics to a new song. He can order off a menu.
Sydney said "At first he was a little reticent, but it didn’t take long to hit it off, really."
But if you ask Ralph, it was all his teachers doing.
“Sydney, I’m telling you right now, that girl can teach...Before her, I couldn’t read nothing. Nothing.”
So now at 64, life has opened up a little more for Burns, thanks to one teacher who wouldn’t give up where others did.