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Diana and Betsy teach Lyddie how to read with Oliver Twist.

Lyddie has very little education, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want one.  She had to stop going to school when her father left because her mother was not capable of taking care of her younger sisters.  Later, when Lyddie started working at the factory, she was embarrassed because she could not properly read and write.

"Not so much time to read these days," Diana said. "We used to have more time. Do you like to read, Lyddie?"

Lyddie thought of the regulations that she was still trying laboriously to decipher when no one was looking. "I've not much schooling." (Ch. 9)

Lyddie learns to read and write because the other factory girls teach her.  She particularly likes Oliver Twist, a story by Charles Dickens about a young orphan living in terrible conditions.

She fought sleep, ravenous for every word. She had not had any appetite for the bountiful meal downstairs, but now she was feeling a hunger she knew nothing about. She had to know what would happen to little Oliver.  (Ch. 10)

With Betsy and Diana teaching Lyddie how to read and the joy of Oliver, Lyddie learns to value reading as much as anything else.  She looks forward to every chapter, and uses the book to learn how to read and write.  With this skill she writes letters home.

Later, Lyddie also teaches a new factory girl, an Irish girl named Brigid, how to read.  She even gives the girl a copy of Oliver Twist when she gets fired.  The book has become so important to her that she can’t bear to part with it, but she also wants to make sure that Brigid can continue her education without her.  Lyddie buys herself a dictionary, so she can learn the meaning of words.

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