Stephen F. Austin State University

News

SFA assistant professor organizes event for National African-American Read-In

February 20, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University elementary education Houston senior Kaelin Gray reads "Anna Hibiscus' Song" by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia to first grade students at Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary School for the National African-American Read-In. Dr. Lauren Burrow, assistant professor in SFA's Department of Elementary Education, organized the event in celebration of Black History Month, and SFA students and faculty members and a community member volunteered throughout the event.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University students and faculty members and a community member recently participated in the National African-American Read-In at Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary School in Nacogdoches.

Dr. Lauren Burrow, assistant professor in SFA's Department of Elementary Education, organized the event in celebration of Black History Month.

"The event's goal is to bring awareness to and have students enjoy books authored by African-Americans," Burrow said. "In regard to children's books, there are not many authored by African-Americans or with positive African-American characters, so by exposing students to these types of books, they can realize there are so many more books for them to love."

Throughout the event, volunteers visited the school to read selected books, poems and speeches written by African-American authors to students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Featured readings included those authored by Langston Hughes, John Steptoe, Maya Angelou, Muriel Feelings and Atinuke. Elementary students also engaged in an activity related to the reading.

SFA Houston elementary education senior Kaelin Gray read Langston Hughes' poem "Dreams" to first graders.

"It was really exciting because I've always wanted to make an impact on children, and I feel like this is an extra way I can do that," Gray said.

During the reading, Gray questioned students about their dreams and what the poem meant. Students then illustrated their "dream self" to demonstrate their dream such as becoming a firefighter, police officer or dog owner. Gray also read students "Anna Hibiscus' Song" by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia.

"I commend the B.Q.J. students. They tackled some really complex poems," Burrow said. "They were amazing listeners, engaged and asked good questions."

During February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations, and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting an African-American Read-In, according to the National Council of Teachers of English website.