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Meet Education Innovator and Literacy Hero Stephen Emmanuel, from Nigeria, West Africa

Each month I will interview a person equalizing literacy for people across the globe and spotlight their work.

So many people ask, “What Can I Do?” Look to Mr. Emmanuel…

Stephen Emmanuel is the Founding Director of Inclusive Classroom Nigeria, where he offers instruction to learners with learning differences.

Mr. Emmanuel states:

Use the time you have to advocate for the change you believe in, do not wait till you have all the resources you need.”

Mr. Emmanuel’s LinkedIn post snatched my attention:


“Often, teachers are criticized for poor teaching and strategies, while some of these teachers are not well equipped with the necessary skills and methodology for instruction. Teachers need to be kept abreast of changes in the teaching-learning process. Teachers should be informed about the findings from recent research on teaching. This would help boost the efficiency, teaching efficacy, and effectiveness of teachers. In summary, I believe teachers’ training is essential if we seek positive changes in education.”

Stephen Emmanuel defies the odds and works across Nigeria, West Africa, to train teachers using a structured literacy approach based on Orton-Gillingham methods.


· Learning to read is not natural, and great neurodiversity exists among humans.

· With our abundant resources, nearly 40% of our students do not read without systematic, explicit instruction, even in the United States.

During my interview with Mr. Emmanuel, he showed videos of his work in Nigeria with very few materials. I was agog at his firm command of solid literacy practice and watching students writing in the sand and using their fingers to tap phonemes. Mr. Emanuel educates the educators so children will learn to read. His work is IMPACT DRIVEN.

Mr. Emmanuel states, “The teachers in Nigeria are a blessing. I am a Christian, and I knew what I wanted to do early on.”

However, Stephen’s work is very challenging, and he does not have access to a team of people, funding sources, and materials.

He described hurdles to traveling across Nigeria to train teachers. The bus fare is $6.00, and Nigeria is 356,669 mi.

As of this writing, Mr. Emmanuel posted the following:

· “Banditry and insurgency activities in Katsina state have led to the closure of all schools and other institutions in eight local government areas of the state. I feel for 'out of school children in Nigeria, especially Katsina State. What's the future of these kids as they join the existing over 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria?

Stephen Emannuel’s dream is to ensure that every child in Nigeria receives quality instruction, diagnosis of learning problems, and intervention to receive a college education.

Stephen faced educational barriers growing up in Nigeria with parents who struggled materially and educationally.

However, Stephen’s strong desire to transcend his experience is making an impact today.

Memories of his early school experience are painful because the teachers’ approaches were punitive, and it was impossible to question them. However, this experience and a diagnosis of ADHD impelled Stephen to change the education system for others in Nigeria.

Through scholarships, Stephen earned his college degree from Obafemi Awolowo University and a master’s degree from Ibadan.

Stephen continued studying neuroscience, Orton-Gillingham language for dyslexia, problem-solving at the Model U.N. Academy, and The Future of Work sponsored by the World Bank.

Although Stephen was not diagnosed with dyslexia, his self-reflection affirms this learning difference.

Stephen has presented his research articles at national conferences.

Stephen hosted two webinars that have helped train teachers across Nigeria.

How did Stephen learn Orton-Gillingham’s practice?

· A Go-Fund-Me campaign raised money to learn and earn his OG certification.

Who receives dyslexia services in Nigeria?

· Typically, only those can afford the benefits from two organizations in Nigeria.

As I talked with Stephen Emmanuel, I was overcome with emotion. This is one man who is courageously molding a system to meet the needs of all learners.


If you would like to know more about Stephen’s work, contact him on LinkedIn-

-Mary McCool Berry, M.Ed. Reading, Literacy for All Advocate, Founder-Read Keys


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