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The Story of a Man who Learned to Read at 54
Sunday - June 14, 2015 4:55 pm
The Story of a Man who Learned to Read at 54

The day Archie Willard lost his thirty-one year job as a laborer at Hormel meat packing company, he was forced to confront the secret he had held so closely for most of his life: at the age of fifty-four, he couldn’t read. For all his life, he’d been seeking ways to survive with very little reading skills. But now, forced to find a new job to support his family, he could no longer hide from the truth.

Last Reader Standing is the story of Archie’s amazing—and often painful—journey of becoming literate at middle age and the added burden of struggling with the newfound knowledge of his dyslexia. From the little boy who was banished to the back of the classroom because the teachers labeled him “stupid,” Archie emerged to becoming a national and international figure who continues to enlighten professionals into the world of the learning disabled. He joined Barbara Bush on stage for her Literacy Foundation’s fundraisers where she proudly introduced him as “the man who took advantage of a second chance and improved his life.”

This is a touching and poignant story that gives us an eye-opening view of the lack of literacy in our society, and how important it is for all of us to have opportunity to become all that we can be—to have hope and go after our dreams. It will also help parents, educators, and medical practitioners to better understand their roles in supporting and providing opportunity for the reading challenged.

About Author  Archie Willard

Archie was tested for dyslexia and learned to read at the age of 54.  After he sought help to improve his reading skills he wanted to improve things for people like himself, which led him to become an advocate for literacy. 


He has been involved with the National Institute for Literacy as a fellow as well as travelling to St. Petersburg, Russia to learn about their literacy programs.  He is the founder of VALUE (Voice of Adult Literacy United for Education) which he created to promote leadership in adults with literacy problems. 


He continues to promote literacy efforts and encourages you to contact him if he can help your organization or cause. He currently resides in Iowa summers and Arizona in the winter.  Please send all requests to Colleen's email listed below.


About The Book Last Reader Standing Co Author Colleen O'Reilly Wiemerslage

Colleen has been a teacher, counselor and writer.  She has taught every grade level including college and has written a family column for a local newspaper.   She is a former teacher of the year and has won awards at the state and federal level for her educational development and writing.

This is her first co-authored book inspired by Archie three years ago when they met and he suggested the project..."Creating Archie's story has been a fulfilling journey and I look forward to this next year as we bring  his story to the public."


She resides with her husband in Wisconsin in the summer and Arizona in the winter.

 Archie Willard will be joining us on CarryonHarry Talk show to tell and inspire from his story.

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