Newly Literate 98-Year-Old Inspires Kids to Read

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At 98 years old, Capt. James Arruda Henry is an unlikely author and champion for literacy.

The fisherman recently wheeled his way into a Connecticut classroom to encourage kids to learn to read -- a cause close to his heart.

Until just a few years ago, he didn't know how to read. Henry was in the third grade when his father pulled him out of school to work on a lobster boat.

"Learn to read and you may become...sometime in the future. When you get old enough, you will know what to do and not to do," he told the group of third-graders. "One of you may become president of the United States."

Henry wrote a book about his life called In a Fisherman's Language. The book was accepted into the Library of Congress and will soon be distributed to classrooms around the country.

"I thought it was really amazing to actually listen to his stories and actually learn about him," a student named Erika said.

"I think he's a good inspirer, and I just think he says good things," classmate Nina added.

Henry hid his illiteracy until he was in his nineties. He said he was inspired to learn to read by the story of George Dawson, a man who also became literate in his nineties and wrote the book Life is so Good.

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