Philip Schultz had a lot of trouble in school.

He had to repeat the 3rd grade in a new school after being asked to leave his old school for hitting kids who teased him about his learning difficulties.

He, along with two other learning disabled children, were placed at the back of the room and generally ignored by their teacher, who understood that most of what she taught would not get through to them.

This practice was common in Schultz’s time, the 1950’s, as not much was known about learning disabilities and teachers in poor regions were given very little training.

His teacher’s treatment of Schultz made sense to him; he couldn’t tie his shoes, tell his left from his rights, or recreate musical notes or words. Schultz was all but ready to accept the hopelessness of his situation and believe he was "stupid."

Fortunately, he managed to cling to a shred of hope in the form of his mother reading comic books aloud to him each night. Schultz imagined himself as someone who was able to read, and from this, he began imitating the words his mother read, and sounding out words by putting letters together in units of rhythmic sound. From this, Schultz taught himself to read.

From his imaginary character he created, Schultz developed a love for the first-person voice and a deep appreciation for language and its music.

Philip Shultz is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet who was able to overcome his learning disability by inventing a new way of reading, and helping others to fight back against their own difficulties and write fiction and poetry.

Read Schultz's moving story over at the New York Times.