Recently, my friend, Tom Sticht posted the following note to the Reading Hall of Famer. I knew nothing of the new pennies and thought you might like to know, too. Tom generously gave permission to share it here, so it is included below in italics. He is right, of course, that this coin carries rich symbolism for adult literacy students, but I suspect those of you who work with kids will figure out some useful connections for your students, too. I haven't yet found my Linoln-the-reader penny, but I'm watching for it.
Each morning my wife and I take an early morning walk of about four miles around our home town of El Cajon, California. This morning on our walk I noticed something glittering on the ground. I bent down and picked it up and found that it was a penny. But as I looked at it carefully I realized that it was unlike any penny I had seen before.
When I got home I looked up the new penny using Google and discovered that it was one of four new pennies for 2009 that depict different phases in the life of Abraham Lincoln. This year I learned is the 100th anniversary of the familiar Lincoln penny, and the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. In celebration, the U. S. mint is producing four new pennies, one of which depicts his childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816), the second depicts his young adult years (1816-1830), a third depicts Lincoln's working life in Illinois (1830-1861), and the fourth depicts the incomplete U.S. capitol as it was at Lincoln’s inauguration and Presidency in Washington, DC (1861-1865).
What struck me most is that the second new penny shows the young Lincoln taking a rest during his work splitting rails for the railroad. In his rest, Lincoln sits upon a large log with a large mallet leaning on the log and a wedge driven upright into the log while Lincoln is sitting on the log reading a book!
Susan Headley, writing at about.com, comments about Lincoln reading and says, quote” I love the graceful portrait of the young Lincoln, with his tall, lanky frame relaxing as he caresses the book in his arms.”end quote
I love this new penny too, because it depicts the importance of reading in the history of the United States. Further, the picture of Lincoln lovingly holding a book while reading can serve as a testament to the importance of reading as an adult, and the importance of adult literacy education as a means of stimulating reading by today’s adults with the aim of an educated citizenry capable of preserving the civil rights and freedom so necessary to the maintenance of our democratic way of life.
What a great opportunity, now, to say, “A penny for your thoughts.” while advancing adult literacy in America!
International Consultant in Adult Education