Saint Xavier University hosts book signing event for local author on March 18

Alby Lee LewisMost kids grow up with a certain dream in mind, such as being a professional baseball player, first female president, etc., but for one man his dream was to be able to read and write, a goal he achieved at the age of 55. Alby Lee Lewis spent his whole life keeping his illiteracy a secret from everyone he knew, even his own daughter. After eight years working diligently to make his dream a reality and now at a 5.5 reading level, he shares his story with the hope of inspiring others.

Saint Xavier University’s (SXU) School of Education proudly presents “Life with No Words: A Book Signing” by Alby Lee Lewis, father of Dr. Jaclyn Murawska, assistant professor of mathematics, on Saturday, March 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Warde Academic Center’s Butler Reception Room, 3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago. Lewis will read an excerpt from his book. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Born in 1940 to a poor family, Lewis was seen as different from his siblings and even was put into a school for “slower” students. Having no true education or knowledge of his condition, he coasted through school by the grace of his mother’s advice “just be good and everything will work out.” It was this advice that led Lewis to become the charismatic and vibrant man he is today. His secret wasn’t revealed to his daughter until she was a sophomore in college when Lewis asked her to read the directions on a microwave dinner box.

“The moment he told me, all the clues over the years flooded in – I never saw him pay the bills; never helped me with homework as a child; always just asked what the special was at restaurants,” said Murawska. “He always found some excuse to make sure his secret was kept quiet, and with guidance from his mom and the help from my mother, he did just that.”

After Lewis retired from being a precision grinder at Illinois Tool Works, he started taking adult literacy classes at the College of DuPage (COD) using the Barbara Wilson Reading Program. Here, he made his life-long dream come true and overcame what was later diagnosed as dyslexia. Since then, he has served as a guest speaker multiple times at North Central College as well as other venues. Then in 2014, a colleague of his daughter had made the suggestion he write a book to share his story with others. As a very determined individual, Lewis accepted this challenge and began writing his book “Life with No Words” and officially became a published author in October 2016.

“Life with No Words” is a touching autobiography of a remarkable man who overcame overwhelming odds to achieve success in life. The story portrays some sad realities, but also shows the humorous aspects of Lewis’ life. It is a personal story of coping with and overcoming dyslexia.

“I’m very excited to be speaking at the book signing event at Saint Xavier University,” said Lewis. “Everyone assumes that all people know how to read and write. Teachers must know how to recognize if a person is struggling to read, either in grade school or in high school, and take the necessary measures to help them. We must encourage people of all ages to seek help.”

As a precursor to Lewis reading an excerpt from his book, Dr. Meg Carroll, professor of education, and Dr. Tara Joyce, associate professor of education, will provide information on dyslexia. Dr. Carroll will highlight characteristics of children with dyslexia and what they need, and Dr. Joyce will focus her remarks on adults with dyslexia, particularly related to what Lewis wrote in “Life with No Words.”

A limited number of books will be available for purchase at the event. Paperback and hard cover books can be purchased in advance at either Lulu.com or Amazon.com.

For more information on the event or author, please contact Dr. Jaclyn Murawska at (773) 298-3398 or murawska@sxu.edu.