Inspired by a former prison inmate who went on to become an Emmy-nominated actor, PSU’s Center for READing has joined the Dyslexia Awareness Foundation to implement a global dyslexia screening and remedial reading intervention initiative in schools, jails, prisons, and community centers.

It’s designed to improve literacy for children, teens, adults, and incarcerated persons, and to reduce crime and recidivism, said David Hurford, founder of the center, which has been part of the College of Education for 23 years.

The key spokesperson will be Ameer Baraka, a former prison inmate affected by dyslexia who went on to become not only an actor, but also an author, educator, and dyslexia activist. Baraka, who was a juvenile when he entered prison, said he ended up there because he chose crime over honest work because he couldn’t read.

“Our proven methods of identifying children who are at risk of developing a reading disability, and appropriate remediation, already are being used in school systems,” said Hurford, who works with educators and parents to identify students as early as possible who are at-risk. “We’re looking forward to positively impacting the lives of potentially millions of people throughout the country and the world.”