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On weeks alternating with the Literacy Connexus newsletter (as in this one) we’ll begin a series of blogs – “web logs” – related to the work of Literacy Connexus.  Rather than reflecting on the universe at large or generally random topics, our goal (Lester, Pam, and guest bloggers) will be to draw back the curtain and share something of the movement and progression of our work in literacy in Texas and beyond.

Literacy Connexus is in the middle of the late summer training events for ESL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).  Our website lists workshops from Fort Worth to Houston to San Antonio and more.  These workshops are known as TEX (Teaching English with Excellence) trainings.  Experienced ESL  program leaders give their time to train volunteers to teaching English to beginning students.  Robin Feistel developed TEX over several years and is the ESL Coordinator for Literacy Connexus.

Sunday, September 8, is International Literacy Daya very important observance for those in the literacy field.  But did you know that Thursday, September 19, is Talk Like a Pirate Day?  Special emphasis days and months are not in short supply.  They focus brief attention on things that are important – at least to calendar makers.  Because you are reading this, I’m guessing that literacy is important to you (at least more than talking like a pirate).  So, gentle reader, as you contemplate International Literacy Day, what’s in your library?

bookcase

Lester Meriwether

“Controlled Chaos”

Calvary Lutheran Church of Richland Hills, TX recently blessed families in El Cenizo with books and bookcases.

Said one mother:

“I had to physically take that Bible away from my kids at 10:30 last night so they could go to sleep. It’s the first Bible my family has ever had.”

El Cenizo, TX Family Reading Fair

El Cenizo, TX Family Reading Fair

Read the whole story!

50 Ways posters available now!

In the church, around the community, and at the capitol, the church can have an impact through literacy.

Contact us to get your free poster–or several to share!

Check out our electronic version here with links to examples and further information.

Then, let us know what you think and share some ideas of your own.

50 featured news

Summer Time

We’ve had a great summer so far.

Presidio3

In June, Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church in Weatherford blessed families in Presidio with bookcases, books, and basketball. Three 90-minute sessions of basketball and a 3-on-3 tournament. Teachers at the local school, parents, and the children themselves, all appreciated the 15-20 books given to each child. The kids loved decorating their own bookcases!

Presidio2

Four more family reading fairs are in the planning stages for this fall, at other locations along the border.

Throughout June and July, we gave some  books to Agape Baptist Church in Cleburne as they provide meals and day camp activities to children in their community. We were amazed at the level of care and teaching the leaders of that program provided for seven straight weeks.

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We’re excited about 11 ESL teacher training workshops across the state coming this fall.

Next on the agenda is the Literacy Texas Annual Conference.

A Leap of Faith

We are finalists for the 2013 Better World Books Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP)  grant!

We’re planning family reading fairs along the Texas-Mexico border for the summer and fall. The $7,500 LEAP grant will go a long way toward allowing us to help five churches provide books and bookcases to families in need.

Please click here and read our project description . . . and cast your vote our way! Please vote once every day through June 21st.

LEAP Entry

We’re on a spring break mission trip with Baylor University students to the border city of Eagle Pass, TX .

Reading at H-E-B

Reading at H-E-B

 

Register for the Gulf Coast Literacy Conference

Guadalupe Quintanilla was told she was mentally retarded in the first grade. She was 13 years old and had just arrived in Brownsville, TX from Mexico. Communication and testing were all conducted in English, and the young girl had no chance of success. Sadly, she believed the verdict.

Today, Dr. Quintanilla is the President of the Cross Cultural Communication Center of Houston and an Associate Professor of the Department of Hispanic and Classical Languages of the University of Houston. She was the first Hispanic U.S. Representative to the United Nations in 1984, and served as co-chair of the National Institute of Justice and co-chair of the National Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Honors include induction to the National Hispanic Hall of Fame and to the Hispanic Women Hall of Fame.

Dr. Quintanilla has devoted much of her time to teaching Spanish in business, community, law enforcement, and legal settings. She has also led a charge against the high dropout rate among Hispanic students.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Quintanilla  at the Gulf Coast Literacy Conference.

Click on announcement below to link to conference registration.

What do church-and-school partnerships look like?

“The way to start,” suggests Literacy Connexus Executive Director, Lester Meriwether, “is to ask the school principal, ‘How may we help you?’” This approach demonstrates a servant’s heart and shows a willingness to be practical and cooperative. He adds, “There is a disconnection if churches don’t start in the local school. It’s not about coming up with programs to offer but a willingness to be used as needed.”

Learn more about the how and why of serving in our public schools. Visit the Serving the Schools Opening Doors project and click on our article, “Will You Cross the Street?”