CHAPTER SIX

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“Can you spell Wonderopolis?”

That's the question Josh Hallett, a dear friend of Brains on Fire, asked his 8-year-old son Trevor.

“W-O-N-D-E-R-O-P-O-L-I-S,” Trevor says slowly and proudly, looking up at his Dad with a smile.

“Nice job, Trevor!” Josh says. He then turns and tells us, “By the way, you guys should talk to my mom about this assignment. She's about to retire after 30 years of running a literacy program with Johns Hopkins in Atlanta.”

It was early summer 2010 and Brains on Fire, along with the team from the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), were knee-deep in the immersion and naming stage for a branding and word of mouth project for one of NCFL's latest educational programs.

NCFL is a major force in education and family learning based in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1989, they've helped more than one million families make educational and economic progress by pioneering and continuously improving family literacy programs. Just spend a little bit of time with even one or two of those one million families, and you can feel the true impact of family learning. Parents who felt alone and scared—who felt that they lacked the basic skills to communicate and navigate the world—are now saying things like, “Anything is possible. Nothing is impossible. When you say you can do it, you can do it.” Imagine the transformation they made, going from not even being ...

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