On March 18th, SXU’s School of Education presented a book signing of Alby Lee Lewis’ autobiographical book, Life with No Words, in which he shares his story of achieving his lifelong dream of reading at the age of 55. The book signing took place in the Butler Reception at 3:30pm. Refreshments were offered.
Lewis showed difficulty with reading since a young age, however, he was not diagnosed with dyslexia until the age of 55. Now, Lewis encourages those who have difficulty with reading to seek help, “Everybody who has this problem wants to learn. There is help out there, the longer the wait, the harder it is,” he said. “Basic reading makes me feel great,” he added.
The event began with welcoming remarks from Dr. Jaclyn Murawska, assistant professor of Mathematics and Lewis’ daughter. She stated that the event was to celebrate Lewis’ journey from being a non-reader born into poverty, to a successful father, employee, and author; and to raise awareness of dyslexia in both children and adults.
Additionally, she added that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness in order for all teachers, and future teachers, to catch the problems early and for those adults in the audience who are struggling readers, or even non readers, to know that there is help out there. “My dad is proof that you can do that at a later age,” she said.
Lewis didn’t have phonics and wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was an adult. The only individuals who knew he was dyslexic were his mother and wife. His daughter, Dr. Murawska, found out when she was a sophomore in college.
“I found out when I was 19. We were in the kitchen and he asked me to read the directions on the back of a microwave box, my hands were dirty so I asked him to read it. He said, ‘No, you read it,’ and I said, ‘no, you read it.’ Until he finally got serious and said ‘I can’t’,” explained Dr. Murawska, “All of a sudden, all the years with clues came to me.”
Although she was at ‘complete disbelief’ at first, she later enrolled her father into an adult literacy program at the College of DuPage. After eight years of much work and persistence, Lewis achieved his goal and is now at a 5.5 reading level.
During the event, Dr. Meg Carroll and Dr. Tara Joyce gave an informational presentation on dyslexia. Additionally, Lewis read a fragment of his book and concluded the event with closing remarks from Dr. Murawska. Moreover, Lewis’ book was available for purchase and signing.
In an interview with the Xavierite, Dr. Murawska explained the importance of raising awareness on dyslexia. “It’s important to raise awareness for our future teachers, specially here at SXU, because they need to know how to catch their struggling readers early so they can provide them with the necessary support,” said Dr. Murawska, “It doesn’t matter what grade you are teaching, if you are a mathematics or science teacher, we all have the responsibility, as educators, to recognize and support the struggling readers in our classrooms.”
For Gricelda Monroy, a junior at SXU majoring in Education, the event was very helpful as a future educator. “I think it was really good for us to have [this event] because not a lot of us are aware of dyslexia. When I brought this up at home, my brother-in-law told me his brother had it but was never diagnosed with it. So, sometimes you don’t realize these things affect you until more awareness is made,” she said.
“It was really inspirational to hear a person that has gone through this and all the things that they went through and now where they are. [It] really inspires you. For me, as a future teacher, [it encourages me] to try to help students who may be going through this, and they don’t have to get to that point and if they can get help early on, like they were saying in the presentation,” added Monroy.
“[If] people come to me, I can say [that I’m familiar with it] and support them because, as it was mentioned here today, that makes a big difference in the life of those who are going through this, that they don’t feel alone and to know that it is not their fault and just give them that support; It can really help them out,” concluded Monroy.
For more information on the book Life with No Words you may contact Dr. Murawska at email@example.com.
Senior News Editor