Inspiring 64-Year-Old Finally Learns To Read

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Inspiring 64-Year-Old Finally Learns To Read

At age 64, Ralph Burns has lived a full and happy life. He's a talented guitar player, he's worked as a pastor and painter, but the one thing he never learned how to do was read.

Burns went to school until about the third grade, but then dropped out. He blames this on his "rough life," including being abandoned by his parents at a young age.

Up until now the most Burns could understand were a few street signs, but with the help of a dedicated tutor his life has changed completely.

Burns found help through an organization called Friends of Literacy. They set him up with Sydney Osborne, a personal tutor. Even though Burns says he's had "50-100 teachers," Osborne is the first person who's really made a difference for him.

For most of his life Burns would just watch people around him, or ask people to help him out. He couldn't read the menu at a restaurant, so he would always ask the waiter to recommend something. Osborne says that when they started working together he was like a kindergartner on the first day of school.

After working together for 2 hours each week for more than a year, they've made some incredible progress. The first time Burns tried to read Green Eggs and Ham it took him 6 hours, now it's easy.

While it's taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, Burns credits his success to Osborne. He says she has "that gift," and it's made all the difference.

"It opens up a whole new world," he told CBS news. "I can go into the restaurant and almost read the menu."

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