Taking on the bullies

Beginners

Today, I’m going to show you how a kid rose up and beat his bullies.

Levi, 10 years old, was about to have the worst day of his life.

“Come up to the front and read to the class, Levi”, instructed his teacher.

He froze …

You see, Levi has dyslexia, which makes reading really difficult.

He could hear some of the kids in his class starting to laugh. After trying to get a few words out, he slunk back to his chair and put his head down so he couldn’t see the other kids.

After class, a group of boys cornered him:

“Why can’t you read? What’s wrong with you?”

Levi just stared at them.

“You are so dumb!” teased one of the boys, and then everyone burst out laughing.

But the next day in class something weird happened.

His teacher brought in a plastic ruler that had a blue see-through slit in the middle. Levi had never seen anything like it. She called it a ‘reading ruler’, and it worked like a moving highlighter, helping Levi focus on reading one line at a time.

It was the first thing that had ever really helped Levi read. So that night he rushed home and told his mum the good news.

Levi wanted a reading ruler of his very own, so he googled it. There was only one problem: different colours work better for different kids. And Levi couldn’t find the one he needed.

Frustrated, he turned to his mum and said, “I should get some reading rulers made and sell them to other kids who find reading hard like me”.

And so for the next six months Levi would come home from school and work on his business.

After searching online for ages, he tracked down a factory in China that made reading rulers. He ended up ordering 25 samples to start off with, and paid for them himself using his pocket money.

And then he did something he never thought he’d be able to do:

He built his own website (mydyslexiashop.com.au) and started selling them.

And he’s done pretty darned well; he’s now sold $6,000 worth of reading rulers.

Better yet, for every 10 rulers he sells he gives one away. “I give them away to people who don’t have money to buy them, and also to schools. That way kids who may not have enough courage to admit they need them can try them out”, he tells me.

Yet the most epic thing happened a few weeks after his first sale. Without him knowing it, Levi’s mum had emailed his teacher and told him about his success. So the teacher asked Levi to get up in front of the class and tell his classmates about it.

Guess what happened?

No one laughed.

Instead, everyone cheered and told him “That’s amazing!”

There was even a kid in his class who bought one – and so did his teacher!

Levi is a Barefoot Kid.

And he’s just one of 50 kids (aged 5 to 14) who appear in my new book, Barefoot Kids.

There are young kids. Older kids. Indigenous kids. City kids. Country kids.

I want every kid to be able to open up my book, look at the kids inside, and say to themselves:

“That kid’s just like me, I could do that.”

Tread Your Own Path!

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