Never too late: 90-year-old man learning to read

Photo of Winford Boughton courtesy of the Richmond City Manager's Office

The Richmond City Manager’s Office recently recognized Winford Boughton’s 90th birthday, and shared an inspiring story about the local man.

About eight months ago, Boughton walked into the doors of the City of Richmond’s Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP) “with a goal in mind. He wanted to learn to read,” City Manager Carlos Martinez’s weekly newsletter states.

Since then, Mr. Boughton has been working tirelessly toward that goal.

“His progress has been impressive,” according to the city manager’s newsletter. “In this short amount of time he has learned a great deal.”

What’s more impressive: Mr. Boughton’s “attitude and strength of character.”

“Whether it was escaping the Jim Crow laws of the South decades ago or learning to read today, Mr. Boughton approaches life with a kindness and an unwavering belief in the goodness of life and the people around him,” the city officials said.

The newsletter shared the above image of Boughton, who turned 90 on Feb. 26.

LEAP was started in 1984 by the Richmond Public Library and aims to help adults develop the skills and confidence to achieve their individual goals. The program at first focused on improving basic reading and writing skills, but later expanded its services to GED preparation, English as a Second Language, math literacy and computer literacy.

It does this through both small group and one-to-one instruction, and through the efforts of LEAP staff and volunteers. Click here to learn more about the program, including how to become a tutor.


  1. Hi Mike,
    This is John from LEAP. You quoted me. Thanks for the exposure. I writing because there is more to the story about the 90 year old man learning to read. If you are interested in following-up I would be happy to help. Mr. Boughton is currently homeless. He lives in his car or at one of the few shelters in Richmond. He is a thoroughly interesting and kind man. I am not sure the direction you would want to go, but his story has broader relevance and interest. Personally, I would like to see him get a place to live, so if getting his story out could make a difference that would be great.


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