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Announcing… The Seventh Annual

Lackawanna Reads

One Book, One College


Hot Dogs and Hamburgers:
Unlocking Life's Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age

by Rob Shindler


 About the Book:


In this heartwarming story, author Rob Shindler tells how he offered his time, unflagging energy, and unconventional teaching techniques to help a boy with serious learning differences and adults suffering from low literacy levels.

A father who wanted to help his son with his reading deficiencies, Rob discovered the way to that goal was through volunteering at the Literacy Center of Chicago. There, he learned firsthand how ridiculous the common misconceptions are about learning disabilities and adult illiteracy. The assortment of students he taught were ambitious people who were eloquent, driven, clever, and so funny they made him laugh out loud. Here, Rob shares his students’ pain and humiliations, frustrations and hopes.

Hot Dogs & Hamburgers demonstrates that literacy issues reside in all neighborhoods and that its victims are committed to finding dignity and life’s possibilities through learning to read. Rob’s teaching experiences are so motivating and rewarding that once you’ve read his story, you’re likely to begin your own journey as a literacy tutor.

About the Author:

Rob and his wife, Andi, have twins, Isabella and Oliver, and their younger brother, future NFL star Sage. Rob is the founder of Abogados America, a small law firm in Chicago that specializes in representing the Hispanic community, which faces an array of legal injustices. “My Spanish-speaking clients are a lot like adults fighting illiteracy. Society tends to judge both before all the evidence is in.” Rob’s hope is that Hot Dogs & Hamburgers will bring an awareness of adult low literacy and slow that judging process down.

Adult Literacy:

Did you know there are 32 million adults in the United States – that’s 14 percent of the population – who cannot read, according to the U.S. Department of Education? Adult literacy is not only an educational issue; it’s a social issue that affects people of all races, cultures and walks of life across the country.

As a volunteer at Literacy Chicago, a nonprofit adult literacy center, Chicago native and attorney Rob Shindler experienced firsthand how adult illiteracy affects real people. His book, “Hot Dogs & Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age,” chronicles his journey to help his son overcome a major reading deficiency through volunteering at Literacy Chicago. Here Rob learned the common misconceptions that come hand in hand with adult illiteracy and developed unconventional teaching methods to help his classes learn to read.

From breaking down the class’ favorite Motown song syllable by syllable to dissecting a passage from the Bible, Rob has found success with his teachings during his time as a volunteer at Literacy Chicago and has helped many adults learn how to read. His book is not only inspiring, but also puts faces to the statistics of adult illiteracy and humanizes the issue.

Links and Events:

Rob Shindler





Chicago Tribune


Author Visit and Book Signing

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College

Book Collecting

A college-wide effort to collect all genres of books will begin at the start of the fall semester, beginning in the College 101 classes.  These books will be used to supply and maintain our Little Free Library Sites.  Check out Little Free Library at

Adult Literacy Tutor Training

Mr. Shindler will return to the college to present a 90-minute adult literacy tutor training workshop to help you on your volunteer for literacy journey…more information will follow after his presentation on October 5.  If you are interested in signing up for this, please let your College 101 instructor know or please contact Mrs. Christine Kiehart at

'New Word' Penny Jars

Faculty and staff can contact Mary Beth Roche for their penny jar.  Monies collected will be donated to one of our local literacy programs. More information to come.


Help Choose the 2017 – 2018 LC Reads Book!

LC Reads is looking for suggestions from you! What do you like to read, what are you interested in, what would you suggest to incoming freshmen for 2017-2018? Please send your ideas and suggestions to or by February 1, 2018.


Essay Contest

Responses to the essay prompt will be judged based on a demonstrated ability to think critically about the prompt, responsiveness to the prompt, and grammar. The top submission will be announced during the documentary viewing. The winner will receive a prize of a $50 Visa gift card. Responses should be no longer than 500 words and can be submitted as an attachment to by the deadline of Thurs., Oct. 12, 2017.

Additional guidelines for essay:

  • One-inch margins, Times New Roman, 12-point font, 500-word maximum, and double spaced
  • Essays should be entirely original work responding the prompt
  • Cover page should include your name, title of essay, Falcon’s email, and current cell phone number

Essay Prompt:

“What did you find to be the most interesting events in the book?  What specific passage, quote, or character left a lasting impression?  How did it affect you?”

Poetry Contest
This contest focuses on writing a poem because you want to capture a feeling that you experienced by reading "Hot Dogs and Hamburgers." Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so why not share those feelings through poetry.
The top submission will be announced during the panel discussion. The winner will receive a prize of a $50 Visa gift card. Poem should be no longer than 1-2 pages long and can be submitted as an attachment to by the deadline of Thurs., Oct. 12, 2017.

Guidelines for poetry entry:

Poetry Rubric



Poetic Devices:
A minimum of four poetic devices are used (metaphor, simile, alliteration, etc.).  The devices are used correctly (i.e. a metaphor is used as a metaphor). 


The poem is very well organized. One idea or image follows another in a logical sequence with clear transitions.


Spelling, Grammar, Mechanics, etc.:
There are no errors in the final draft. People or place names that the author invented are spelled consistently throughout.  End punctuation, and correct punctuation in general, is used throughout the poem.


The poem contains sensory details, figurative language, and descriptions that contribute to the reader's enjoyment. The author has really used his or her imagination.


Title is creative, sparks interest and is related to the poem and topic.


Quality Product:
The final draft of the poem is typed in a 12-point, readable font and includes the student’s name in the upper-left hand margin with Falcon’s e-mail and current cell phone number.


                                                                                                          Total: ____


Lackawanna Reads Mission Statement:

The purpose of this program is to provide everyone in the college community with an enjoyable and positive reading experience; to promote life-long learning; to reinforce the message that reading is an integral part of the college experience; and to encourage our freshmen, along with faculty and staff, to read the same book and participate in open discussions across the curriculum.

Lackawanna Reads Objectives:

  • To introduce and create a united social and academic experience for incoming freshmen, returning students, faculty, staff and administration… the entire college community.
  • To encourage critical thinking skills for the entire student body by open discussion on a common theme.
  • To enhance academic and community awareness.      
  • To provide students with a positive reading experience.