Reading aloud to workers also occurred among immigrant women working in the tobacco factories of in Tampa, Florida. Apparently this sometimes had a politically activist purpose. I came across the following in a review of a Southern Discomfort: Women's Activism in Tampa, Florida, 19880s-1920s, by Nancy Hewitt.
Note that these readers were actually paid for by the workers themselves.
Immigrant women's activism centered primarily on labor issues in the tobacco industry. Hewitt opens "Southern Discomfort" with a description of Luisa Capetillo, a labor organizer and "reader" in the tobacco factories. Readers were chosen and paid by the tobacco workers to read aloud newspapers, pamphlets, books and announcements as the workers made cigars. Those readings were targeted to the interests of the listeners, who "heard the latest news on labor strife and anticolonial rebellion around the world, (and) learned of current debates among radical intellectuals on the best ways to organize such struggles," writes Hewitt.
This is true. Actually during the XIX Century, our National Hero, Jose Marti, went to Tampa to organize and instigate the war against Spain. He saw the tobacco workers as potential allies, and so he went to preach his ideals, by reading or otherwise giving political speeches.