This might be the most uplifting thing you’ll read all day.
For millions of Americans, being unable to read or write presents a seemingly insurmountable barrier to opportunities and resources most of us would take for granted. But one incredible charity is setting out to level the playing field by teaching illiterate adults about the intricacies of the New York literary scene.
Talk about stepping up for the less fortunate!
“We want to make it so that all our students, from those with no reading skills to those with a second-grade comprehension, are internalizing the ins and outs of the New York literary gossip, so we start with the basics,” says founder Judy Hilgartner. “For the first few classes, we are mostly covering the essentials like Jennifer Egan’s resurgence among the Brooklyn coffeehouse set and Colson Whitehead’s legendary meltdown at the 2012 Random House Christmas party.”
Well Read prides itself on flashcard drills teaching these disadvantaged adult learners to identify the elite literary scene’s current power hitters by sight, and one-on-one coaching helps them differentiate writers who command genuine respect from those with an uncle on Columbia’s board of trustees. Just imagine how empowering it must be to go from not being able to read a street sign to listing off the major blows in Jonathan Franzen’s public tiff with Jennifer Weiner about white male privilege in the publishing industry, all from memory.
And the learning goes beyond the classroom: Well Read also offers field trips to the Men’s Wearhouse where Tom Wolfe bought his iconic white suit. Who says adult education can’t be a little fun?
“To see it click for a recent immigrant or mother who grew up homeless that Jonathan Safran Foer was laughed at behind his back for thinking a $20,000 advance is something to brag about,” added Hilgartner, “it’s why we do this.”
After a lifetime of being forced to exist on the margins of society, it’s great to see these illiterate men and women are finally getting the rundown of New York’s literary scene they deserve. Cheers to this great charity for not letting anyone fall through the cracks!