TikTok Videos: Meet Oliver James, the SoCal man who learns to read and charms TikToker along the way

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) — A Costa Mesa TikTok star rises to fame by taking her fans on her journey to learning to read.

The 34-year-old may be functionally illiterate, but he’s determined to change that.

Oliver James has been filming himself reading from the front seat of his van for the past year and a half.

“Usually… I’ll hit play and just shoot a couple of my lives or a couple of my videos and that’s it,” James explained “Good Morning America” its simple setup in a parking garage.

James, a personal trainer and aspiring motivational speaker, shared his life on TikTok as @oliverspeaks1.

His literacy goal has made him a star of the BookTok community.

According to 2019 Department of Education data, about 43 million Americans have low literacy skills and over 8 million are considered functionally illiterate, meaning they are unable to determine the meaning of sentences, read short texts or fill out simple forms.

“The special education system of the time was more focused on behavior than education. So they spent a lot of time subduing us, a lot of time disciplining us, often putting us in positions to mold us so that we just wouldn’t act out there in class,” he recalls.

Now James’ reading skills have improved so much that he embarks on a new journey to read 100 books this year.

With his near-term goal, James also said he hopes to one day teach his own 3-week-old son to read.

Good Morning America contributed to this report.

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https://abc7.com/tiktok-costa-mesa-california-viral-videos/12772034/ TikTok Videos: Meet Oliver James, the SoCal man who learns to read and charms TikToker along the way

Laura Coffey

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