Authors & Readers for Literacy

As I write this blog, I’m sitting in the morning sun in Richardson, Texas, where I’ve traveled for the 10th Annual Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy.

Ten years ago, a partnership was formed between the Richardson Library and romance authors in the Dallas area. Every year, a gathering would be hosted and funds raised to help the Richardson Adult Literacy Center provide English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults living in the Richardson area so they can gain better employment, help their children in school and become more involved community members.

Eleven Facts about Literacy in America
1) 16% of the world’s population is non-literate. Of those with low literacy skills, two-thirds are women.
2) Legal immigrants who are English proficient earn between tea13-24% more than immigrants who are not English proficient.
3) The effects of low literacy cost the U.S. more than $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
4) When immigrants have access to language and literacy instruction, they assimilate more quickly and effectively into communities and become more engaged in the economy.
5) Individuals at the lowest level of literacy have a higher rate of unemployment than the national average – 14.5 in 2011.
6) Among those with the lowest literacy rates, 43% live in poverty.
7) 75% of state prison inmates and 59% of federal prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.
8) 35% of immigrants make less than $25,000 a year. Most believe they cannot better their lives or get a better job until they improve their English.
9) Low literacy adds an estimated $230 billion to the country’s annual health care costs.
10) 19,050 of adults who live in the RALC service area don’t speak English well or at all.
11) 17,918 of residents who live in the RALC service area speak a language other than English at home and live below the poverty level.

Linda & TracyThis year I had the pleasure of sitting with fellow P&P Author Linda Broday!

I took part in the first couple of Buns & Roses events before I moved to Missouri. What has always struck me — and it’s no different this time, though I’m attending as a reader instead of an author table hostess — is the amazing energy and joy to be found in a room full of women talking about what they love. In this case, books and romance. And, over it all, is a fierce dedication to Adult Literacy, helping others learn to read so they can enjoy what we take for granted.

As I moved around the room, greeting friends I haven’t seen in years and making new ones, everyone smiles, laughs and talks about books. What do you write? What’s your new favorite book? What are you reading now? It’s amazing.

As a writer, I love that people enjoy reading all those words I struggled over, getting them just right before sending my book into the world. As a reader, getting to hear of authors I’ve not yet discovered and books that left a lasting impression with someone is just as fun.

So– What’s your new favorite book?

A River's Bend Duo

Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

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9 thoughts on “Authors & Readers for Literacy”

  1. It sounds like a wonderful gathering, Tracy, and for such a good cause. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I couldn’t read. I know I struggled with learning to read an enjoying it up until I read my first Nancy Drew mystery — The Secret in the Old Clock. I haven’t stopped reading for pleasure and education since!

  2. I also have to say I don’t know how I would have survived without reading – it truly keeps me sane. I do believe education is the only thing that can make this world better! I would have to say anything historical is my favorite 🙂

  3. What a fun event! And such a clever name – Buns and Roses. That’s perfect! As a lifelong bookworm, I am a huge advocate for reading. It hit a little closer to home when my youngest struggled to read and comprehend. We tried everything to help motivate him. Finally we found humor – I think I bought every fart book ever written! But it got him reading.

    The best book I ever found for kids who don’t like to read, especially boys, is Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading. It’s fabulous. Super short chapters. Lots of humor. And all about a boy who goes to great lengths not to read. Talk about a character my son to could relate to! He ate it up! There is an entire series now, and he’s read them all. He still won’t pick up a book unless he has to for school, but at least he retains the story information now and has much more confidence when approaching any reading-intensive assignment. I’m so thankful for Charlie Joe and all those crazy fart stories. Who knew?

  4. Hi Tracy, I have seen your FB posts…thanks for sharing more about Buns and Roses. A recent book I couldn’t put down is Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner. I just loved it. Right now, I am reading a research book about British “gentlemen” in the West, wanna-be cowboys, and it’s actually very interesting. Prep for my 2016 When Hearts Fly for The Wild Rose Press. As a kid, I read endlessly. The Wizard of Oz is lots different from the movie. And even more than Nancy Drew, I loved and still love Trixie Belden and her little mystery club. Ah.

  5. I am a READER! Always have been and could never understand someone who didn’t like to read.
    As a paraeducator I had the opportunity to read to and listen to many different readers and I felt such joy when they asked to read a book! We had the hardest time keeping the boys reading. Jack London books often worked.

  6. Hi Tracy! I was traveling yesterday and never got to see this wonderful blog. Thank you for posting the picture of us together. It was great seeing you. You’ll have to let me know what happens in regards to our talk.

    I’m a lifelong supporter of literacy. My dad couldn’t read or write when he married my mom. He was so ashamed of having to sign his name with an X. And he’d always wanted to read street signs, forms he’d have to sign, and the newspaper. Mama taught him after they married and he took such pleasure in reading. So I want to help all I can with literacy.

    I’ve read books from the time I learned how and can’t imagine the void it would leave in my life if I wasn’t able. Reading is everything to me.

    Big hugs and thanks again for sitting at my table!!

  7. The Buns and Roses Tea sounded like such an enjoyable event. I really wish I lived close enough to attend. Hopefully, some year we can tie it into a vacation trip.

    The literacy statistics in the US are sad. I am constantly surprised by the number of those born and raised here who can not read well or at all. Our daughter was a senior in high school when we moved to our current location. She was very upset when it came time for graduation. Several of her new friends couldn’t read and were still going to graduate. Today, teachers are not allowed to keep students back even if they cannot read or have not mastered the knowledge for their grade level.

    I have seen many adults bring their checkbooks to the store and have the clerks fill out the checks for them. This puts them at the mercy of the honesty of the person helping them. Sadly many do not take advantage of the literacy programs in their community.

    I am impressed and heartened by the support author and reader events give to the literacy programs in the communities where they hold their events. It is a worthwhile cause.

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