'It's never too late to learn': Sixty-nine year old man learns to read and wants to inspire others

Being able to read is something most of us take for granted. But, not everyone is taught these essential skills at school.

One-in-six adults in England can barely read or write, according to the National Literacy Trust.

And despite the number of adult learners rising, literacy charities say too many people are still falling through the gaps.

Graham North, 69, has lived in Hull for all of his life. He had meningitis as a child, which meant he was often out of school.

He says he never quite caught up and now, 50 years later, he has decided to change that.

In November 2022 Graham was partnered with a reading coach, Geoff Bell, through charity Read Easy.

Geoff started with teaching Graham phonics, which involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters.

Phonics are usually taught to children when they first start primary school.

Now, in January 2024, Graham is able to read a children's book from cover to cover.

He says learning to read has 'been like a flower opening up, and now the world is open to him', for the first time in six decades.

And he wants to encourage other illiterate adults to take the step into learning to read for the first time.

Research shows that if a child is behind with their reading and writing at the age of five, it will impact them for the rest of their life. 

And whilst those like Graham prove it is never too late to learn, it is children that have the power to change the future when it comes to literacy.

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