A teacher’s journey: Long-time educator, advocate to retire

Ruth Fuller Lature stands by the office door of the Dyslexia Association of the Pennyrile, an organization she co-founded 45 years ago.

As a child, Ruth Fuller Lature never had dyslexia, nobody in her family had the problem and she had never heard of it.

“I think I heard a mention of it when I was earning my master’s degree in elementary education at George Peabody College (now a part of Vanderbilt University),” she said.

It wasn’t long until all that changed. She soon found children in her teaching career who were struggling with dyslexia.

“They were usually brilliant students, they just couldn’t read because they had been taught the traditional way, and it didn’t work for them.” she explained.

She went to Berea College for a reading research institute and there she met Dr. Charles Shedd, a psychologist and researcher on dyslexia.

She had also met Bob Stites, who had moved his family from Louisville to Hopkinsville.

Stites was concerned that there was no dyslexia association here that could serve his child who had dyslexia and had been trained in Louisville.

The two needed funds to have Dr. Shedd come to Hopkinsville, and they went to the late Frank Yost’s home. Mr. Stites told Mr. Yost the problem of no funding and Mr. Yost without hesitation gave them $500, which was enough to cover the visit.

From there, things started developing. The program soon had a very good board of directors, and they had funding from United Way.

Through the years, the program has succeeded and grown.

Ruth has been there all along tutoring on a regular basis and working on funding.

As co-founder of the local association 45 years ago, she now feels it is time to retire.

She has worked continually these 45 years, even writing a book that is of great help to those with dyslexia and to those who want to learn more about the problem and how it is solved.

She dedicated the book to her late husband, James William Lature.

Although there has been some pay through the years for those who tutor and work, the pay has been small since the days when Ruth was at George Peabody when she first heard dyslexia problem.

As a young girl, Ruth didn’t want to be a teacher.

“I wanted to be a nurse, but then I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a nurse,” she said.

So then she went to Austin Peay State University, where she earned a degree in secondary education and then to Peabody for her master’s degree.

She taught in public schools for 35 years before retiring as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher.

Her instant passion for children with this reading problem never ended even after her regular teaching career ended.

She was a co-founder of the Dyslexia Association of the Pennyrile and for 42 years has been the executive director.

She had also been a professor at Hopkinsville Community College and has conducted workshops at Murray State University.

She has been a speaker at state conferences, regional conferences and also does workshops for associations and city groups.

Ruth is quick to praise the board, saying it is a good board and she feels comfortable with leaving the program at this point.

Vicky Jones will assume the position of the new executive director on Oct. 1.

Anyone who knows Ruth knows she won’t be bored in retirement.

She is a world traveler, having traveled to Russia, Germany, England, other European countries and the Middle East and Central America with some with some of her trips being mission trips through her church.

She is active in First United Methodist Church, she may steal a few hours to do some tutoring, and she’ll travel. In fact, her most recent trip was to New York City.

“I had been there once and had always wanted to go back,” she said.

She is expected to be home on Oct. 4 because that is the day she will be honored at a retirement reception. It’s a Sunday and the reception will be from 2 until 4 p.m. at the Dyslexia Association at 539-A Noel Ave.

A crowd is expected to be present to honor this lady who has done so much for so many.

There’s something else we know about Ruth.

Not only does she have a small antique glass business, but she loves to shop.

Have a happy retirement Ruth.

Occasionally this column highlights someone as a hero and we are glad to add Ruth Fuller Lature to our hero list.

Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer and columnist for the Kentucky New Era. Her column runs every Saturday. She can be reached by telephone at 270-887-3230.

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