is the title of a book by Ezra Pound, published in 1934. He wrote, "Literature is language charged with meaning: Great literature is simply charged with meaning to the utmost degree . . ."
If literature--and great literature--excites you, take a moment to imagine the void in your life if deprived of the pleasure and meaning that reading brings. Then take 10 more steps backward and imagine not only missing out on the thrill of great books, but the helplessness and confusion of not being able to decipher even the most basic written communication.
Every person has the need to read . . . in order to know where to go, what to do, and how to do things. To succeed in school, at work, and in the community. To raise the bar for their own lives, and for those around them. To comprehend the wonder of God's written Word.
Through the ABCs of Literacy Connexus, hundreds of volunteers across Texas are working hard to help add meaning, to the utmost degree, to the lives of those struggling with literacy needs.
AdvocacyAdvocacy matters--and sometimes achieves the intended result. Last week Kathryn Thompson, executive director of the Tarrant Literacy Coalition, testified before the State Board of Education. Her testimony will help those preparing for a high school equivalency certificate to have more than one option for test taking. Kathryn's presentation:
Between the years 2010 and 2013, an average of 79,600 adults per year obtained the high school equivalency certificate in Texas. That's almost 80,000 families that were positively impacted because their mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother or grandfather received the credential that allowed them to get a better job, to keep the job they had, or enroll in community college to move toward a better life for themselves and their family.
In what ways is your church sharing books with kids who lack reading materials at home?
If churches or schools in your community are providing meals for children this summer, consider contributing books and pairing the meals program with a reading program. In fact, that's what we'll be doing at ten or more sites in the Rio Grande Valley in June and July through our Feed the Mind and the Body--This Summer project. Adding any activity to meals programs has been shown to increase participation; when that activity involves books, kids will benefit all summer . . . and in the fall, too, when they return to school with sharpened literacy skills.
Churches are continuing to bless communities through Books for the Border and Beyond. Are there parents in an apartment complex or refugee community nearby who could be encouraged and equipped to read to their children by means of a family reading fair celebration? Could your church raise membership awareness by taking on a book drive or bookcase-building project?
Consult our 50 Ways to Bless Your Community Through Literacy for more ideas.
Church Literacy Ministry
Each week across Texas more than 15,000 adults are improving their English language skills in church-based programs. Attend a Friday-Saturday TEX (Teaching English with Excellence) workshop this fall and make an impact through ESL ministry. We'll post the locations and details of the trainings on our website starting in May.
Check out this recent Fox News story which highlights the ESL program of West University Baptist Church in Houston, under the direction of TEX trainer Kathleen Yarborough. It demonstrates what we find so exciting: ESL ministries (and their volunteers) have the opportunity to change lives.
Enjoy literature--and savor great literature! At the same time, let your love of the written word motivate you to join us in granting the gift of literacy to every fellow Texan.
Lester Meriwether, Executive Director
Offices at Henderson Hall - Agape Baptist Church
3954 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76116
3020 S. Cherry Lane, #123168
Fort Worth, TX 76121
Pam Moore, Editor