Has a salesclerk ever approached you in a store and asked to help you and you responded, "No, thanks. I'm just browsing." Most likely, we have all had this happen before. What you meant is you were looking around to see if there was anything interesting enough for you to stop and take a closer look. Dictionaries define browsing as casual looking or reading; window shopping; scanning, glancing, and thumbing or flipping through. You get the idea. We browse through stores, museums, neighborhoods, and websites. Browsing helps us notice and find things.
Coffee table books are excellent vehicles for browsing and learning about a subject. They are large, usually hard-covered books with illustrations and photographs. They are meant to inspire, delight, and spark conversation. I've seen stunning coffee table books on a wide variety of subjects. It was my choice to read the accompanying text or only look at the images. In either case, I learned something by browsing through the book. Even if a person can't read well, we know that a picture is worth a thousand words. People can still gather information and knowledge through the power of browsing.
Coffee table books are more expensive than normal trade books. Sometimes people keep their coffee table books for years because they are so sturdy. They may read their coffee table books once or twice, and like other books they own, they never open them again.
The Metro East Literacy Project (MELP) is asking you to donate your forgotten coffee table books. If they are no longer interesting to you, they may be a delight to someone else. Clean out your attics, basements, and bookshelves and donate your coffee table books to us. We will give them to underresourced families in our communities.
Several coffee shops in the St. Louis area are partnering with MELP to collect books. Scan the QR code to see the list. Don't see your favorite coffee shop listed? Reach out to the owner or contact MELP and let us know. We would love to have many more coffee shops take part in this community literacy service.
If you don't have a coffee table book to donate, you can support this collection effort by giving a donation. Click #HelpMELP to give a donation of any amount.
Thank you so much for helping people live better lives through literacy.
The Christmas gifts I remember the most as a child are the books my siblings and I received. I still remember a red hardback riddle book that I read over and over until it fell apart. Another favorite was my first reference book, a kids question and answer book that covered just about any topic that might interest a kid. Q & A books are great to give to kids to stir their curiosity. I believe consistently getting books as Christmas gifts sent a message to me that reading was important.
I think the Icelandic people got it right. They have a celebration on Christmas Eve called Jolabokaflod. That roughly means "Christmas Book Flood" in English. Everyone in the family receives a brand new book and they sit by the fireplace sipping hot cocoa and reading their book. Doesn't that sound lovely and peaceful? It's no wonder that a 2013 study showed that 93 percent of Icelanders read at least one book a year and 50 percent read more than eight books a year. Sounds like Iceland is intentional about building a reading culture. Why not start a reading culture in your home by giving your children books for Christmas? It's a gift that can last forever.
DECEMBER READING CELEBRATION--Read a New Book Month
While you are feasting during the holidays, don’t forget your brain food. Check out my Penny Press Puzzle Lady channel where I share tips and strategies for solving puzzles.
From the pressure to assimilate to the motivation to build a bridge for embracing Latinx culture, Ernesto Saldivar Jr. speaks eloquently about how literacy is valued in his community. As a teacher of language acquisition and literacy, Ernesto gives several examples of literature that have impacted his life, family, and his students.
Disabilities Don’t Have to be a Barrier to Literacy
Blind people can read. Deaf people can hear. Dyslexics can decipher and understand words. Today’s technology has opened up a world of hope and possibilities for people with reading challenges. They no longer have to be labeled or cast aside as they were decades ago.
It’s a new day for literacy equity and justice. Literacy is available to all. Well, not quite. There’s still a lot of illiteracy in the world. But devices used to help people read have become more widespread. For example, the blind can read text with the OrcamMyEye device. Neosensory devices help the deaf and hard of hearing. Dyslexics can use assistive technology such as text-to-speech scanning pen.
The 2021 calendar of world disability days are too numerous to mention, but here are a few celebrations to note that enhance literacy.
*World Blind Day, October 5–Creating awareness about eye health
*Dyslexia Awareness Month, October—Creating awareness about reading disabilities in adults and children
*World Usability Day, November 11—Creating awareness about how designers can develop products for diversity and inclusion
Let’s all be kind and considerate of people who have challenges with reading. And if you can help, please do so.
Listen to this remarkable story about a blind man who become a lawyer and judge long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990. How did Dana LaMon overcome literacy barriers to achieve his dream?
First book store to open on San Antonio’s West Side cultural districtGuadalupe Cultural Arts Center launches its Latino Bookstore
SAN ANTONIO – A historic building on the city’s West Side got a major facelift to help preserve the Hispanic and Latino culture.
On Friday, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will debut its new book and gift shop featuring Latino artists and authors.
The new shop sits on the corner of Guadalupe and South Brazos Street inside the former Progresso Pharmacy. The iconic white and black building has been transformed into the Latino Bookstore.
“Given that we are a multidisciplinary center at the Guadalupe, and we like to cover the literary arts as well, I thought it would be important to have a hub of literary, academic and children’s offerings as well,” Christina Ballí said. Ballí is the executive director of the nonprofit.
Ballí said the project started five years ago and was made possible with bond funding from the City of San Antonio of more than $1 million. Now, they’re excited to finally open to the public and get the space activated.
“Unfortunately, we have low literacy rates. Of course, it’s a book desert, just like it’s a food desert sometimes, you know,” Ballí said. “It’s a resource desert in many ways (and) in many areas, but it’s not a cultural desert. This is a culturally-rich area. So, having a Latino specific bookstore here in this area will make it even more so more of a culturally-rich neighborhood.”
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will open on a small scale on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., followed by a book reading.
The book reading will be lead by authors Carmen Tafolla and Tomás Ybarra Fausto at 6:30 p.m.. The celebration will continue across the street at Plaza Guadalupe with the 30-year anniversary performance by Guadalupe Dance Company.
Holy Cow! September 25 is National Comic Book Day
There is an increased acknowledgement in the teaching and library communities that comic books and graphic novels can be a great way to get kids (and people of all ages) to increase their literacy skills. There are comic books now for almost every genre and almost every audience. ---Malea Walker, the Library of Congress
Holy cow! Ms. Walker is right. I read a lot of comic books as a child, and I believe they not only entertained me but they also helped increase my vocabulary, critical thinking, and reading comprehension.
ProLiteracy gives five ways comic books help learners read better.
Adults with low level reading skills may find comic books less intimidating than books with lots of text.
2. Reading Comprehension--Cowabunga!
Comic book readers strengthen their reading comprehension skills by following the images and the text. The sequential artwork tells the story. Many of the details are missing in comics, so the reader must interpret the story.
This is what I liked most about comic books. All those speech bubbles! Yikes! The characters didn’t talk the way my friends and I talked. It was fun to see the language and expressions they used.
Comic books have the same story elements that novels do: setting, characters, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Many comic book characters use some pretty big words. The images give visual clues to what a word means.
Celebrate National Comic Book Day by revisiting your favorite comic or watch a movie based on your favorite comic book hero. Zooom!
Listen to Sidney Keys III, a St. Louis, Missouri African American teenager, tell how he became a real-life comic book literacy hero. OMG!
A house full of books, a globe, history flashcards, and an example of entrepreneurship. These are the tools that gave Devon Moody-Graham a strong foundation in reading. She cannot imagine a world without literacy. Her determination to be a lifelong learner has influenced her six children. Her business clients have taken note and followed in her footsteps. In this video, Devon proves that leaders are readers.
In this video, the Penny Press Puzzle Lady, AKA Linda M. Mitchell, will be showing you how to solve a Pairs puzzle from the Penny Press Variety Puzzles magazine. Use two sets of the same two letters to solve the puzzle. Come on! Let's shake up our brains and test our word knowledge. You'll enjoy a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and achievement after you have solved the puzzle.
When Thokozani Mkhize was growing up in South Africa in the 1990s, she devoured storybooks from all over the world. She read Chinese myths and Greek legends. There were Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and “Goosebumps” novels.
The one thing she never read though were South African stories.
“At the time I wasn’t really thinking, why do none of these characters look like me?” she says. “But as I grew up, I realized there was a gap.”