Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Reading”

A Reblog: “Why Reading Aloud Made Cuban Cigars Great”

Today I have the pleasure of reblogging a most fascinating posting about the joys and impact of reading aloud.

New post on “A Teacher’s Reflections”

Why Reading Aloud Made Cuban Cigars Great

by Jennie

While reading aloud is my passion and what I do- because it makes a marked difference in learning- I always write about reading aloud to children.

Well, there’s more.  Adults.  The proof of reading aloud making a difference is in the high quality of Cuban cigars.  It’s a great story, one of my favorites.

Reading aloud never gets old.  It weathers time and generations.  For adults, when we are read to, we listen, think and feel.  And, we have to stretch our brain.  When we only hear the words it sharpens our mind, and our performance is much better.

The Cuban cigar industry understood this.  That’s why they make the finest cigars.

They have la lectura, who reads aloud for up to four hours to the factory workers, from the daily news to Shakespeare to current books.  This is both brilliant and common sense; the workers are entertained, happy and productive.

Jim Trelease writes about this in his million-copy bestseller book, The Read-Aloud Handbook.  He is a master writer and has it nailed on reading aloud.  Here is an excerpt from the chapter about the history of reading aloud and its proof:

Then there is the history of the reader-aloud in the labor force.  When the cigar industry blossomed in the mid-1800’s, supposedly the best tobacco came from Cuba (although much of the industry later moved to Tampa, Florida area).  These cigars were hand-rolled by workers who became artisans in the delicate craft, producing hundreds of perfectly rolled specimens daily.  Artistic as it may have been, it was still repetitious labor done in stifling factories.  To break the monotony, workers hit upon the idea of having someone read aloud to them while they worked, known in the trade as ‘la lectura’.

The reader usually sat on an elevated platform or podium in the middle of the room and read aloud for four hours, covering newspapers, classics, and even Shakespeare.

As labor became more organized in the United States, the readings kept workers informed of progressive ideas throughout the world  as well as entertained.  When factory owners realized the enlightening impact of the readings, they tried to stop them but met stiff resistance from the workers, each of whom was paying the readers as much as twenty-five cents per week out of pocket.

The daily readings added to the workers’ intellect and general awareness while civilizing the atmosphere of the workplace.  By the 1930’s, however, with cigar sales slumping due to the Great Depression and unions growing restive with mechanization on the horizon, the owners declared that the reader-aloud had to go.  Protest strikes followed but to no avail, and eventually readers were replaced by radio.  But not in Cuba.

The Cuban novelist Miguel Barnet reports, “Today, all over Cuba, this tradition is alive and well.  Readers are in all the factories, from Santiago to Havana to Pinar del Rio.  The readings have specific timetables and generally begin with the headlines of the day’s newspapers.  After reading the newspaper, the readers take a break and then begin reading the unfinished book from the day before.  Most are women.”

Used by permission of the author, Jim Trelease, 2013, The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin)

No wonder Cuban cigars are among the finest.  This story is one of my favorites and illustrates the effect reading aloud has on people.  Thank goodness I get to do this multiple times every day with children.

Jennie

Thank You, Jennie for your work and your delightful outlook on the world.

John

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Throwback Thursday from July 2016 – One Man’s Treasure…

Throwback Thursday from July 2016

One Man’s Treasure…

sale4THE SUN IS SHINING. THE SKY IS BLUE. THE SIGNS ARE ON EVERY POLE.

The other morning while driving the short distance to St. Arbucks I saw four large signs tacked to poles and trees.

“Huge Rummage Sale Today!”

A person can’t have enough rummage I always say…or maybe it was somebody else. I don’t sale9remember.

I looked for an actual definition of “Rummage” and this is what I found”

“To search thoroughly or actively through (a place, receptacle, etc.), especially by moving around, turning over, or looking through contents.”

Kinda sounds like either a scavenger hunt or Spring Cleaning to me.

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The Sounds Of Silence

LAST NIGHT I WAS SITTING AND READING when out of nowhere nothing happened. It startled me. Everything was quiet. For the first time this month I didn’t hear anybody shooting off fireworks in the neighborhood. I got up and stepped outside. Nothing. No fireworks, no dogs, no traffic. I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming.

I am so used to the noise of life in the city that the quiet is a bit unnerving. I snapped my fingers just to make sure that I hadn’t suddenly gone deaf.

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The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

wsj1I WAS SCANNING THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL the other day. That’s not something I do all that often. If I want financial information anything in The Journal is at least a week old. That would be like wondering if your tub is overflowing, but waiting a week to check on it. By that time your ceiling may be collapsed and the parakeet drowned in its cage.

What I did see that tickled my interest was an article about how the future was going to be different than today. Really? I didn’t know that Carnak The Magnificent worked for The Journal.

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What’s Next ?

book1I’M GETTING TO BE A REALLY ANNOYING PERSON when I have to deal with myself. Nag. Nag. Nag. I just don’t give myself a moment’s peace. Would it hurt if I cut myself some slack?

Yes.

What is behind all of this? Lemme tell ya.

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What’s The Good Word?

word1WORDS. I’M A BIG FAN OF WORDS. I USE THEM EVERY DAY. Without words I would be speechless. The only people I know who don’t like words are Mimes – and we all know how loved they are.

(Advice: Never stand next to a Mime. You might end up as collateral damage or, even worse, you might get stuck inside that invisible box that all Mimes seem to have.)

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And The Answer Is…

best6NOT LONG AGO SOMEONE ASKED ME who I thought was the best writer. Of course, that is an impossible question to answer – even if you are going for just one man’s opinion. A question like that is like asking who is the prettiest woman, or what is the best tasting thing to have for dinner.

Talk about your subjective questions. Sheesh!

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One Man’s Treasure…

sale4THE SUN IS SHINING. THE SKY IS BLUE. THE SIGNS ARE ON EVERY POLE.

The other morning while driving the short distance to St. Arbucks I saw four large signs tacked to poles and trees.

“Huge Rummage Sale Today!”

Read more…

Here We Go Again

trib1I GUESS I’M GOING TO HAVE TO GO DOWNTOWN AGAIN.

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you might be familiar with my problems with the local Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Someday I’ll learn to read.”) newspaper, the “Tribune-Star.”

My relationship with the Tribune-Star has more sore spots than a Chihuahua beset by a swarm of bees.

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Adjusting The Focus

Food5NOW THAT WE ARE HOME, after almost two months in Ireland, there are some things that are obvious only now. We were perfectly comfortable there and had no “When do we go home?” moments. The one exception might be when it comes to food. It was a case of “Close, but no cigar.” It’s just a case of liking the things I’m familiar with.

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Looking For Ourselves

2

(being written on April 21st)

 

TO QUOTE MADELYN KAHN IN ‘BLAZING SADDLES,’ “I’m tired.”

While travel is wonderful and inspiring it can also be flat out exhausting – and I’m not the one doing all the driving. We will be in our next location for two weeks in the town of Carrick-on-Shannon. Two weeks will be most conducive for both I and my wife, the lovely and sabbaticalizing, Dawn.

Time for reading, writing, contemplating one’s place in the universe, looking to both the past and the future, and taking things at a slower and more restorative pace. This applies to both of us.

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Report Card Time

HERE WE ARE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. In many ways it has been a good year, but in other ways it has been, to quote Queen Elizabeth – an “Annus Horribilis.” That’s what she said.Report-Card

I take it to mean a horrible year. Of course, my skills in Latin are limited to what I recall from my eight years at St. Marys Catholic Grade School – and that translates to, “Sit up straight, be quiet, and get a good education.”

In homage to the Little Sisters of the Right Cross I will give this year, 2015, its very own Report card.

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“Bad News Travels Slow” — Continued

Fiction Saturday  —  “Bad News Travels Slow”

Telephone Noir

On the drive back to my apartment I went over what things I’d learned so far and what I had to do to have this all come out right side up.

Dinwiddie had George Sweet stashed somewhere. He’d need him alive to sign his dotted line on the paperwork giving the business away. After that, who knew?

Dinwiddie had worked this all out like any General planning a coup. Whether it was some small country in Central America or a chain of bakeries, it was all the same. You place your forces in strategic places, surrounding the guy in charge, until he sees he is out of options. With Dinwiddie, he snatched the husband off the street because he knew that it was the wife who really signed the checks. Having hubby on ice put more pressure on the power behind the throne. The fact that he wanted the wife for his trophy case was just so he could rub his Boss’s nose in it. Mrs. Sweet was not a bad looking woman, but I had a feeling Dinwiddie liked his women not quite so likely to claw his eyes out.

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