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Florence Cheptoo


Florence Cheptoo began to learn to read when her grandchild brought home a library book

What’s it like to read your first words at the age of 60? What difference does it make after a lifetime of getting by without reading?

Florence Cheptoo, who lives in a village near Chesongoch in Kenya, has turned her first page as a 60-year-old.

Her path to reading began when her granddaughter brought home books from primary school. Many of the parents and grandparents of the schoolchildren were themselves unable to read, so teachers began literacy lessons for adults.

Florence, forwarding her answers to the BBC through a local librarian, said she now felt “part of those who are in the modern world”.

She says she particularly enjoyed reading storybooks for the first time, getting letters from her family and being able to read the Bible for herself.

The world of maps has been opened up. “I like knowing where other parts of the country are located,” she said. And she has been getting books on agriculture “so that I can learn how to farm”.

It had given her a new confidence, she said, letting her feel more knowledgeable and able to have an opinion alongside people, either literate or illiterate.

“I am able to identify what is good and bad in society.”

Read the full story on the BBC News website

Older people reading from school books in Kenya


Adult literacy classes began after the library was opened