Connecting Readers and Writers to the Word:  African American Read-in

This February, as we celebrate Black History Month, my school gave the African American Read-in another try, but with a different flavor for this event In the past, I would get approved for everyone to “Stop Everything and Read” at a specific day and time. Students and teachers, along with other staff were to read a book authored by an African American during that designated period. I would roam the halls to catch classes reading and take pictures. I was thrilled to capture our school population reading, but unfortunately some classes went about their normal scheduled curriculum/activities for the day. Over the years, I’ve learned to be thankful for the teachers and students who do participate in our sponsored reading promotional events.

This year, our literacy coach informed our library media/technology committee about an African American Read-In model sponsored by the National Hook-up of Black Women Inc., the Atlanta Metro Chapter (NHBW-ATL). Selected Atlanta Public School teachers participated in this model which allowed them to choose the day and time that they would commit to reading aloud a book authored by an African American each week. I think we all can agree, that reading aloud to children improves their language and listening skills, and also promotes a lifetime love of reading.

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I’m reading, “Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight” written by Karyn Parsons and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

At our school, I asked teachers to include the African American Read-In in their weekly lesson plans, to document the dates of the readings, the title(s), and author(s) of the book(s) they read to their students. As an extension, I recommended that teachers ask students to write a paragraph or record a class discussion (e.g., video camera, Flipgrid, Nearpod) about how the students were impacted from the reading of the book(s). I also provided a bibliography of books authored by African American authors available in our library media center.

Thus far, I’ve gone to a few classes and took pics as teachers were reading aloud to their students. I’m hopeful that I’ll receive an outpouring of pics, videos, and student work in my email inbox on March 1st or soon after!

Readers and Writers:  So, I know I came to the party a little late in the month with this blog post, but if you haven’t already done anything specific for Black History month, I challenge you to read aloud a book authored by an African American and/or if you’re an African American author, write a book about an African American historical figure.

And, as an African American author myself, I’d love a little recognition, too. So, all I want for the duration of Black History Month is an Amazon review (scroll down on the left) for my book, Grandma, Granddad, We Want to Praise God! It’s not a book summary or a book report, just express your thoughts about my book. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and I invite you to join me again as I continue to explore literacy topics. Please share my blog with others and feel free to subscribe to this publication, so that you don’t miss an issue.

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Vanessa Fortenberry,
M.Ed., Media
Ed.S., Media
Reading Endorsement

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