OC father of 2 shares his journey of overcoming illiteracy

California has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, around one in five adults cannot read.

One Costa Mesa father is working hard to change his own personal stats and encourage others in the process.

Thirty-five-year-old Oliver James says he was forgotten in school and was seen as a bad child. He told FOX 11’s Brooke Thomas he felt like adults gave up on him. But it wasn’t just in school, he says he didn’t have that extra push at home either. 

"There was not one book in my house. No, no, there was nothing," James recalled. "There were no books, no magazines. There was nothing."

As the world slowed down during the pandemic, James decided that could be his chance to learn to read.

"It opened my mind to see if you can grow this little bit in this little time. Imagine what you can do in a time that you really focus. Like getting up every day, and spending five years reading. You don't know who you're going to be in front of," James said.