Book Run

bookwagonjan10_2009I found this picture on Wendell Dryden’s Curbside blog when I was looking up Literacy in Canada. Literacy teaching seems to be all happening there. I was wondering if this could work in London. Could we do book runs and soup runs? Wendell Dryden says he is  a poet, painter and literacy worker living in St. John New Brunswick. This gives me great hope. I am wondering what books would be most popular and which would stay at the bottom of the trolley in Hoxton, London, UK.

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Book Run

2 thoughts on “Book Run

  1. “Wendell Dryden says he is a poet, painter and literacy worker…” Well, I suppose anyone can Say they’re a poet and painter – LOL. In any case, I’m slightly jealous of “In and out” which is complicated and easy-to-read all at once. Thank you for that. The phrase ~

    an afternoon I saved on empty

    ~ stuck with me completely. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s all those vowels?

    “Literacy teaching seems to be all happening there.” Hey! That’s what we say when we read stuff from the UK (esp. Barton and Hamilton)! Guess the grass really does seem greener….

    Can I tell you my favourite story?

    One winter, we often passed a man gathering shopping carts and recyclables. He man was shy and his rare verbal utterances suggested a serious cognitive delay. All the same, one morning we asked if he would like to borrow a book. He answered, “No”, adding, “I can’t read.”

    Our response purchase several used coffee-table books full of interesting pictures and little or no text. When we next met this man, I showed him the books and asked if he would like to borrow one. He said yes and took a book with him.

    The following week, we met him at his house with other coffee-table books. Standing at his door I asked, “How did you make out with the book you borrowed last week?”

    He replied, “I read it.”

    “I can’t read”: “I read it”. In the space of a week, this man went from being a non-reader to a reader, from alliterate to literate. And all that was required, on our part, was a diversity of strategies and the freedom to innovate.

    Of course, someone from industry or government might say he really couldn’t “read”. All he was doing was looking at pictures. How was he ever going to get a job and get off welfare?

    Well, here’s the thing. When we met him, he already had a job – gathering up shopping carts and recyclables. What he didn’t have was relevant, accessible, literacy support appropriate to his personal goals and abilities.

    I’m curious about your work (of which you say so little!). Will you let us know which books are popular when you push your shopping cart along those east end clatter-stones? You’ll need a good partner for courage and cheer. At least, I do.

    Anyway, take lots of pictures and write lots of words about it. 🙂

    Best wishes for all your efforts.

    1. Henrietta says:

      Thanks very much for your comments. It’s interesting to hear what goes on in other places. At the moment I’m working some new poems so perhaps some will be posted soon. For the moment a book run in East London is a dream but we do have books at the soup kitchen if that counts.

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