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Don Johnston’s Book “Building Wings”

An essential read for students
with learning barriers, their
teachers, and families.

2 hands holding the "Building Wings: How I Made it through School" book, with an animated picture of Don Johnston on the cover.

Lessons in Self-Confidence

All students are capable of experiencing learning breakthroughs. Just ask Don Johnston, the founder and
CEO of Building Wings. This is his story as told through the book, "Building Wings."

How to Build Wings

Don Johnston struggled with reading. But his eighth grade teacher recognized his potential and helped Don think and learn in non-traditional ways.

Black and white animated image of a teaching with students in a classroom.

The Story

“Building Wings” is about someone who learns differently from others. It is an inspiring story for students ages 9 to 17, presented at a second and third-grade reading level.

Black and white animated image of a child watching a NASA launch on television.

The Purpose

Don wrote “Building Wings” to help students become more confident. The book is also a reminder for teachers, faculty, and parents that all learners deserve to aim higher.

Black and white animated image of a Father, Mother, and 2 children eating dinner at the table.

The Impact

Don’s learning journey is at the heart of all his professional endeavors. For over 40 years, Don has helped thousands of students reach new heights in their literacy development.

Get Your Free Copy

Join our mission to help all students soar! Read “Building Wings” for free and then share it with your school and community groups.


Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


Author Profile:,Ph.D.

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