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How We Have Fallen Short in Teaching Literacy -- And What To Do About It

(NewsUSA) - This may be difficult to read, but did you know:

  • In the last 15 years, 15 million students graduated from high schools testing below the basic reading level.
  • One in five college students enroll in remedial reading classes in their freshman year.
  • More than 42 million Americans are functionally illiterate; they can’t follow the directions on a can of soup.

Now, a cognitive developmental psychologist with more than 30 years in the classroom has scoured the research, made her own professional observations and notes from personal experience, and put together a fascinating book that takes aim at what’s wrong with the learning process – reading in particular – and has set out to offer solutions.

The book certainly has an appropriate title: This May Be Difficult to Read. Within it, the author, Dr. Claire Rubman, breaks down myths about reading, separates fact from fiction, and works to get parents and educators on the right course. Choosing the right strategy for children to read, Rubman believes, is “the most politicized topic in the field of education.”

“I’ve watched my children succeed and fail with phonics, reading, reading comprehension, and learning,” she says. “I’ve seen our collective children hurting, and I’ve also seen them succeed beyond their wildest dreams. I have such a passion for watching them develop a love for reading and learning that I wanted to share it with parents, educators and anyone else concerned with helping our children read.”

Dr. Rubman hopes this book will serve as a catalyst for change that will disrupt early childhood education so that children of all ages and backgrounds will fall in love with reading. This, in turn, will allow children to learn to use the printed word to think, grow, and challenge the status quo.

Clarie RubmanThis book is designed to alleviate some of the frustration we often experience when trying to teach our children. The book looks at the learning process through a child’s eyes to more fully appreciate how children think, learn, and process information within the context of learning to read and comprehend the written word.

To that end, Dr. Rubman offers solutions to combat reading comprehension failure, perhaps foremost the task of transforming one’s home so that reading becomes as natural as speaking. Parents must create a “need to read’ in their homes and make learning a byproduct of fun.

Dr. Rubman’s writing style is both scholarly and relatable. She knows her stuff, is quite thorough, and supplements her learning points with personal examples of the how and why, often using her own family as her “characters.” She takes a complex topic and makes it user-friendly and readable so that it can be processed by a larger audience than just literacy professionals and learned parents.

“I have watched some students struggle badly,” says Dr. Rubman. “These are clearly highly verbal students, but their reading comprehension skills sell them short in the classroom.”

“Will your child be one of the success stories or struggle with textbooks and comprehending the printed word? This book is about inspiring the greatest number of children to love reading and the comprehension process so that they can’t wait to pick up a book.”

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BookTrib’s Bites: A Black History Month Hero and Other Intriguing Stories

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If Someday ComesIf Someday Comes 
by David Calloway

A true story of the author’s great grandfather George Calloway, a slave in Cleveland, Tennessee, before and during the Civil War. It is written as historical fiction, based on George’s life, and stories the author heard growing up. It is a tale of determination, perseverance, and achievement.

“Calloway’s elegant prose effectively captures the tension and textures of the period…He shows himself to be such a talented writer of historical fiction that the biographical element of the work barely registers.” – Kirkus Reviews

George protected his family through war, famine, and plague; he risked his life repeatedly to protect his owner’s family, and thus his own wife and children. George was then, and remains, a hero of his family.  Five-star reviews on Amazon. 

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Bornto RiseBorn to Rise
by Lorna Blake

A young woman's journey from abandonment, abuse and rejection to her empowerment and success. The story of a young girl who felt counted out, discounted and knocked down by the hand she was dealt at birth. From being abandoned by her father to abuse by her mother, the death of her beloved grandmother and sexual abuse by a stepfather, she felt she had been walloped by life.

With the strength of her ancestors encoded in her DNA, she refused to stay down. She found a way to courageously rise from obscurity to infinite possibility. The author shares her story with humor, eloquence and wisdom to inspire others to recognize they too have the power to climb out from under and create a fantastic comeback from life's setbacks. 

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Extreme VettingExtreme Vetting
by Roxana Arama

Immigration attorney and single mom Laura Holban is an immigrant herself, guiding clients through a Kafkaesque system of ever-changing rules, where overworked judges make life-shattering decisions in minutes. Laura’s newest client is Emilio Ramirez, who was arrested in front of his sons at their high school and thrown in detention.

When Laura files for Emilio’s asylum, the world turns upside down. False criminal charges prevent his release, someone is following his family, and an ICE prosecutor threatens to revoke Laura’s US citizenship. None of it makes sense—until she uncovers a deadly conspiracy involving ICE, stolen data, and human trafficking.

Now the man at the center of it all is coming after Laura and Emilio, who must find a way to survive—and keep their families safe.

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The Cherokee BrideThe Cherokee Bride
by Stephen A. Enna

This story keeps readers on edge as they follow three people in their 2,000-mile trek across the U.S. Territories to the California Gold Rush in 1850. Seventeen-year-old Maggie Carter is an out-of-control kid who is half Cherokee Indian and half white. When she hears about Major Peter Jenkins organizing a wagon train heading for the California Gold Rush, she signs up and is selected to be one of the scouts for the train.

When the wagon train arrives in Grand River Oklahoma, Peter recruits five Cherokee Indians as scouts. Their knowledge will help lead the train across the long prairies, around the huge mountains in the path and across deserts. The lead brave selected as Chief Scout is Jimmy light feather Chawkta, who was practically born on a horse. Follow Maggie, Jimmy and Peter as they travel 2000 miles across the country and face all the difficulties that a trip of this nature will bring. Try to imagine if you could do it. 

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Humorous, Poetic & Allegorical Tale Reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno

(NewsUSA) - Theatrical essence, we know, relies upon a shared experience of space and time. How else does one describe the crescendo between the stage and stalls during a curtain call?

In Presence, the PlayWilliam E. Jefferson’s protagonist puts it like this: “So many years, scripts scripted, performers performing, music scored, songs sung — it’s live, it’s real, it’s present. The theatre — what can be better, tell me? You can’t.”

Presence, the Play is an allegorical tale woven across multiple levels: Christian theology, media critique, the hero’s journey, poetic reimagining of classic works, and sheer entertainment. The work vigorously explores the concept of presence and its many manifestations, both divine and mundane.

This timely, captivating novel speaks to a growing hunger for a way of life that’s real and tangible -- the opposite of an artificial existence lived in a realm of mediated connectivity.

The novel’s meticulously crafted storyline evokes the imaginative prose of J.R.R. Tolkien, the spirited perception of C. S. Lewis, and the dramatic flair of Dante’s Divine Comedy.


On the Isle of Estillyen (an enchanting isle described in masterful and concise detail on the author’s website), lives a community of monks renowned for storytelling. One of the monks, named Script, has written a stage play, titled Presence, the Play. On opening night, a packed crowd eagerly awaits the performance while Script hurries to claim his balcony seat.

Amidst all the excitement, Script has a terrible fall. Medics rush the playwright to the sanatorium, where he lapses into a deep coma. The novel plays out in Script’s comatose state. Readers join Script on an epic mission to save the Isle of Estillyen from the forces of darkness, experiencing many daunting adventures along the way.

Script is a lovable, relatable and somewhat quirky character, and there’s much humor to be found as our unwitting protagonist bumbles his way to hell and back.

William Jefferson“The motivation for writing Presence, the Play was not a spark, or an idea that suddenly pressed upon my mind,” says the author. “Over time, the idea maturated until one day I began to view presence itself as an aspirational antidote to the distant mediated connectivity spurred on by social media platforms. It’s been said that the greatest gift you can give someone is your presence. I wholeheartedly agree.”

While Jefferson calls upon the works of Frost, Chaucer and Poe to add depth to the story, it is Dante’s Inferno and biblical texts that inform the novel as a whole. With each trip to hell, Script must pass through one of five doors that open onto a scene related to stories from the Gospels. He must observe the characters and their interactions, then find and follow a path to hell.

Jefferson’s visions of Hades are wildly imaginative, populated by armies of tussling swarms of demons and vast numbers of sinners getting their (often ironic and thoroughly modern) comeuppances.

All in all, Presence, the Play is a satisfying read for lovers of the spiritual, the literary and the fantastic. We invite you to venture forward.

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Keep Rocking This Year with Maaco’s Rock On In 2023 Sweepstakes

(NewsUSA) - Maaco, North America’s body shop, is celebrating the start of 2023 in rock and roll fashion by giving away 23 JBL speakers.

The sweepstakes, which invites entrants to share their favorite rock song of all time for a chance to win, can be entered at It will run from Monday, February 6 through 11:59 PM on February, 20 2023, and is open to anyone in the United States.

Following our 50th anniversary year, we are ready to continue our momentum into the next 50 years, thanking our valued customers for their continued support,” said Daryl Hurst, president, Maaco. “We’re hosting this giveaway to continue to show our appreciation to our customers and help them to keep rocking into this year and the future.”

Following the closing of the giveaway, 23 winners will be randomly selected on Wednesday, February 22. To receive their prize, the winner will be contacted through email and must respond within five business days.

Our family of dedicated owners has worked day in and day out to uphold their commitment to providing their customers the best quality repairs at an incredible value, leading to strong customer loyalty from across the country,” continued Hurst. “I’m thrilled to see our momentum carry into this year and beyond, which could not be done without the incredible support of our valued customers.”

Maaco was founded in 1972 by Anthony Martino, beginning its operations with the first location in Wilmington, DE. From here, the company has grown to over 400 independently owned and operated franchises across North America that have repaired more than 20 million vehicles.

For more information, the rules governing the giveaway, and to enter, visit


About Maaco

Maaco is North America’s body shop, with over 50 years of experience in providing affordable auto body repair and car painting. Maaco, with more than 400 independently owned and operated franchises across the United States and Canada, has been named a top automotive franchise numerous times by Entrepreneur Magazine in its Annual Franchise 500 ranking and Franchise Times’ list of Top 200 franchises. Maaco is a member of Driven Brands, the largest automotive services company in North America. For more information about Maaco, visit

About Driven Brands

Driven Brands™, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the largest automotive services company in North America, providing a range of consumer and commercial automotive needs, including paint, collision, glass, vehicle repair, oil change, maintenance and car wash. Driven Brands is the parent company of some of North America's leading automotive service businesses including Take 5 Oil Change®, Take 5 Car Wash®, Meineke Car Care Centers®, Maaco®, 1-800-Radiator & A/C®, Auto Glass Now®, and CARSTAR®. Driven Brands has more than 4,700 locations across 15 countries, and services over 50 million vehicles annually. Driven Brands' network generates approximately $1.9 billion in annual revenue from more than $5.3 billion in system-wide sales.


Twin Sisters at the Core of Dark Coming-of-Age Psycho Thriller By Debut Author

(NewsUSA) - Most good thriller novels keep readers guessing until the end. Then there are some that cause jaws to drop.

TKO Rogue has launched debut author Janet Porter’s intriguing, intricate and gory psychological thriller FREE RIDER, a dark coming-of-age story set in 1970s New York City that follows twin sisters as corruption, decadence, and greed engulf any vestiges of innocence, trust, and security they may have left. 

Khalika and Violet, twin girls growing up in a privileged hell, are on the cusp of adulthood after barely surviving a childhood that threatened to shred their psyches before devouring them both in a seismic swirl of pure evil.

Violet and Khalika have grown up in a posh Westchester, NY, estate previously owned by the girls’ parents but later the domain of their stepparents Dick and Bianca. That is, until the stepparents are found brutally murdered. The stepparents’ murders are not the only ones that remain unsolved, and there are signs that point to one killer.

It takes several months, but Detective Mark Vincente follows the investigation and eventually locates Violet, whom he wants to question. Vincente is a subtle but dogged investigator, describing his work as “trying to put a puzzle together where the pieces have been scattered like gory confetti.” Eventually, he and Violet develop a romantic interest. Is it real or is it his way to get closer to his ultimate quest?

For fans of gore, horror and “the dark side,” FREE RIDER has it all. But Porter’s work is much more than that. It is a complex psychological study of two sisters, their slightly different paths, their inner thoughts and their resultant actions. The author does a marvelous job of getting into their heads and souls.

And what an ending – it will leave readers stunned!

Praise is already pouring in for FREE RIDER:

"Thought-provoking and atmospheric!” says one Amazon reviewer.

Janet Porter"Captures the darkness and grittiness of New York City in the Seventies and Eighties,” says another.

“Astute observations on the evil that human beings perpetrate,” says another reviewer.

The author, Janet Porter, was born in Pittsburgh and immediately began trying to injure herself by roller skating over broken pavement. Subsequently, the family moved to New York City, where the family lived in a series of ramshackle apartments in the borough of Queens. Janet has no writing credentials except those of anybody who has processed the daily grind and decided to fictionalize it. She lives by the words, “Write the book you want to read.”

In writing Free Rider, Porter said she keeps in mind the words of the dead guy in the movie “Ghost,” doomed to ride the subway for eternity after jumping in front of a train: “You take all your emotions, all your pain, all your love, all your passion, all your rage. Just push it all the way down into the pit of your stomach. And then let it explode, like a reactor! Pow!”

“Pow” is right. Pick up Free Rider and you’ll know what we mean.

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BookTrib’s Bites: Some Tasty Morsels in Assorted Genres

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The House at the End of the WorldThe House at the End of the World
by Dean Koontz

Soon no one on Earth will have a place to hide in this novel about fears known and unknown by #1 NYTimes bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz. In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortress-like stone house on Jacob’s Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting.

A neighboring island houses a secret government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob’s Ladder in search of someone―or something―they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs over them, an infinitely greater threat has arrived.

Katie soon finds herself in a terrifying battle against an omnipresent terror that could bring about the end of the world.

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A Week’s WorthA Week’s Worth
by Thyme Lewis

To those who cross Mac, punishment comes on a daily basis. With a skill set rivaling special operatives in the world’s most elite gangs, Mac navigates the country working for FEMA, helping those less fortunate resurrect their lives after the USA’s most horrific natural disasters.

In A Week’s Worth, Mac receives a call that sends him home to California, where he will face a more personal disaster: His mother’s health is failing. His good intentions to help are met with resistance. And people keep dying around them. With a burning desire to right the wrongs of the past, Mac hopes this last road trip to Los Angeles will make their time together unforgettable. “Lewis paints a wry and unapologetically honest depiction of his characters,” says one reviewer.

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I Trust My Inner VoiceI Trust My Inner Voice
by Ana Parra Vivas

The author, a well-balanced Lifestyle Manifestation Expert, gives you a blueprint on how to TRUST your Inner Voice. She is a perfect example of how working to change your self-perception can have incredible and tangible benefits. Ana faced many difficulties in her life, and these difficulties challenged her beliefs in herself. She decided to study herself and, ultimately, she discovered the tools that brought her balance as she recovered her personal power.

This book is not only the story of how Ana found balance in her life, but also a guide for anyone struggling to take the next steps toward the life of independence and freedom they desire. The Inner Voice is a powerful tool, and this book can help readers harness that power.

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Failed StatesFailed States
by Justin O’Donnell

A grim, fast-paced speculative thriller in the vein of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It is a tale that deals with political, religious, and violent themes ranging from cannibalism to abortion, while calling into question the fundamental clash between security and liberty.

In an America on the edge of extinction, Thomas La Stella serves as a Deportation Force officer. Tom is old enough to remember America before Dayton Day, the attack that finally brought the country to its knees and the earth towards its death.

Still fighting for hope, Tom clings to his pregnant wife and begrudgingly serves a government on the brink of revolution. When the president goes missing, a new radical force rises from within and threatens every hope Tom has for a better future.

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BookTrib’s Bites: Diverse Titles Sure to Hold Your Interest

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The Violin Thief
The Violin Thief
by Genie Higbee

A startling coming-of-age tale that twines magical realism with musical history and legend.

It’s 1941. A wondrous violin is charming six-year-old Douglas Tryzyna. In her wordless language she tells him they are destined to spark kindness and joy together. Overawed, Douglas names the violin Magic Muriel.

Professor Stoya, recent Berlin émigré, accepts Douglas into his music conservatory. This teacher, who craves fame for himself and his obstinate son, Willi, knows exactly how to trap Douglas, who falls prey to the Professor’s dictate. Meanwhile, poetic piano student, Violette, captures his heart.

1953. Just when Douglas’ benevolent destiny with Magic Muriel seems possible, a clash of desires sets off a chain reaction of ruinous events. For Douglas, navigating a fractured future will require courage, forgiveness, and the balm of kindness.

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The Island MotherThe Island Mother
by Jon Cohn

Leigh Ramos is a woman on the run from her own life. After escaping from a toxic relationship with a drug dealer, emotionally codependent Leigh starts life over far from the hills of Kentucky. She chooses Hawaii, where she lands a job in an exclusive resort. It seems too good to be true.

Then supernatural horrors start manifesting all around Leigh, and she starts having disturbing nightmares of impossible creatures calling out to her. To make matters worse, Leigh’s violent ex-boyfriend is close on her tail, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Now trapped, Leigh falls back on old habits. In order to survive paradise, Leigh will need to learn from her past mistakes or she will be doomed to repeat them.

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Principles of EducationPrinciples of Education
by Donald Sung

“The human brain and the human body are very complicated, and so is human education.” In Principles of Education, author Donald Sung defines and details 81 principles that parents, educators and learners need to consider to maximize a child’s learning. Together, the principles make up a childhood educational theory that tackles a learner's conditions, environment, and educational processes. 

The book will help readers understand how people learn, guide our children, assess the effectiveness of education, explore the proper and necessary tools for education, and watch children grow. The book is presented as a blueprint for success and systematically outlines each principle with brief and succinct comments. The principles are divided into three interdependent groups: learner's state (functions and conditions), learner's interactions with environment, and introducing a learner to the world.

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Meanwhile Back HomeMeanwhile Back Home
by Gabrielle Meeker

Most American children during World War II were aware of the threat that faced the country, and they responded to the call. They walked to school listening for air raid sirens, carried scrap metal to school for collection, offered their dimes to buy War Bonds, and sent caring packages to children in Europe. 

This work is a compilation of 50 interviews with people who experienced WWII as children, who were expected to contribute to the war effort. It can thus be described as 50 memoirs, and historical depictions of the era, with revelations of the hardships of post-war attempts to return to normal life. Fifty elders of various backgrounds and locations were interviewed. Some recollections were common, others quite unique. But in all cases, the children faced life-changing events.

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BookTrib’s Bites: True Crime Inspirations, Dystopian Gem, Making Great Factories

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Reef RoadReef Road
by Deborah Goodrich Royce

When a severed hand washes ashore in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach, FL, the lives of two women—a lonely writer obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother’s best friend and a panicked wife whose husband has disappeared with their children—collide as the world shutters in the pandemic lockdown of 2020.

In a nod to the true crime that inspired it, “Reef Road” probes unhealed generational scars in a wrenching and original work of fiction. It is both stunning and sexy and, like a bystander surprised by a curtain left open, you won’t be able to look away. “Though pure fiction, it reads as compellingly as a mixture of memoir and exposé. It has left me shaken to the core,” says NYTimes bestselling author Luanne Rice.

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Hell of HosannaHell of Hosanna
by Kip Langton

"Kip Langton is a writer to watch", says NYT bestselling author Fiona Davis.

Imagine the Empire State Building removed from New York City. Imagine that building reconstructed brick-by-brick on your father's private island--the trappings of the past stolen from the public to indulge unfettered hypocrisy. This is James's defeated and ravaged landscape when his father successfully monopolizes all forms of industry into one perfect company called U atop the collapse of the old world.
Ownership no longer exists. Now, anyone can have anything--temporarily. But to James, the "rent and move on" lifestyle is a total hell. Then one strange day, the whole thing comes tumbling down and James can break away. In a U space shuttle, he travels to the ultimate unknown. Freedom? The real hosanna?

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I Killed SamI Killed Sam
by Robert A. Steadman

Inspired by the true story of a groundbreaking defense of a Flint, MI, woman who killed her abusive husband in the mid-1950s—a time when a husband could rape his wife in Michigan without facing criminal charges. 

This fictionalized account of the trial is more than a legal trial, replete with unexpected plot turns and the drama of a young, small-town lawyer trying to juggle his obligations to his client and to his fledgling law practice. There’s also romance— attorney Bob Nichols is in love with Betty, the defendant and his high school sweetheart whom he should never have let go. Nichols is tortured by the thought of losing his long-shot, legal gamble, which would mean forever losing Betty to a life sentence in prison.

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Make Your Factory Great & Keep It That WayMake Your Factory Great & Keep It That Way
by Liam Cassidy 

Liam Cassidy is known as “The Serial Factory Fixer.” He's the man that multinationals in the USA, Canada, China, the UK and Ireland have on speed dial. The man with the plan and the one to call to fix a broken factory.  In his 40-year career, Liam has used lean principals and tools, with his unique brand of leadership, to turn around factories and supply chains all over the world including some considered “too far gone” to salvage. 

Now he shares the secret of his success and some very interesting case studies and outlines how lean principles and tools were vital in the processes he adopted to save plants. If you are determined to make your factory great, this is the only book you’ll ever need.

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