Once illiterate, Mills to be among authors featured at annual luncheon

Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 09:24 AM.

After one-on-one tutoring, Mills made progress.

"The more I read, the better I got, the faster I could read and the more words I could pronounce," Mills said. "We worked about 2 1/2 years before I read my first book at age 48. Now I’ve read approximately 100 books and I’ve written over 100 poems."

Mills said that an estimated 15,000 people in Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties can’t read at a proficient level.

"When you can’t read, you keep it under a lock and a key and you let hardly anyone inside of that part of your life," Mills said. "Can you imagine taking your small child to the doctor and the doctor gives you a prescription and you have it filled and you can’t even read well enough to administer the medicine to your sick daughter? Can you imagine your granddaughter coming to you asking you to read to her and you tell her that the letters are too small to see? You have to lie. It’s like one lie after the other. I left my glasses. These lies you hide behind."

Mills said there is an enormous amount of shame for people who are illiterate.

"It’s a silent cry. The illiterate voice is crying," he said.

Mills said somebody filled out his job application at Hatteras Yachts, but he had the opportunity for promotions but couldn’t handle the paperwork and had to give them up. He said math helped him cover up that he couldn’t read well.

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