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How does an audiobook work?

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What is text-to speech?

Why was Ptahra able to be successful in college?

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Success Begins

By Ptahra Jeppe, M.S. Ed, J.D.


At first, I didn’t know anyone with dyslexia. When I learned about people with dyslexia, I didn’t think I was like them.  But at least I was on a new path. I changed schools. I changed classes. I tried many different ways to learn to read.

I got to use audiobooks. That means, I would but on a headset and listen to someone reading. I would hold the book and follow along. Wow! It was the first time that I could “read” a book that was at my grade level. I said to myself, you really are smart.

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But there were still some people who didn’t believe in me. Can Ptahra go to college? Never! they said. Can Ptahra finish high school? They weren’t even sure about that.


But then, I got to go to The Churchill School. It was a small school for children with learning challenges.


By the end of 7th grade, I could read some words at the 2nd grade level.

For someone who could not read at all, this was a big step for me.  I met with a reading teacher twice a week. I would meet with her twice a week for the next five years. She was a big help. She made sure that I had audiobooks. She told my teachers about me.

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I used a computer to write. I would write something in my usual way. Then I would ask an adult to check the spelling.


And guess what? I finished high school! I didn’t just finish high school. I finished with average grades. Now, I was going to college.

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I chose a college called Adelphi University. I chose it for two reasons. First, it wasn’t far from my home.


Second, Adelphi University has a program for students like me — students with learning challenges. It was great! I met teachers who knew all about learning challenges. They checked my homework. They showed me new programs for the computer and how to use them.


I met other students who were a lot like me. They had learning challenges, too. I shared my story with them. They shared their stories with me. “Ptahra,” I said to myself, “you’re not alone in this world anymore.”

Also, in college you learn all sorts of new stuff — some good, some not so good. For example, I learned about text-to-speech. With text-to-speech I could highlight words on the computer. Then, click! The computer read the words. It was magic. Now I could read books by Mark Twain and Langston Hughes and William Shakespeare all by myself.


I graduated from college with very high grades. I even won an award for my good grades! I was able to succeed even though I had challenges. And you can too!

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