By Tyra Seldon In addition to being a month when many celebrate the ongoing and diverse contributions of African Americans, February is also a time that has been earmarked to celebrate reading and literacy. Contrary to many public perceptions, many African Americans have robust appetites for reading. Of course, reading is encouraged in school, but it is equally as important at home. With books readily available, why not encourage young people to read books by and about African-Americans?
Conceptualized in 1989, the African-American Read-In is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
The NCTE’s African-American Read-In encourages schools, community members, and parents to set aside time in the month of February to be very deliberate and purposeful in celebrating reading and literacy. The program is for readers of all ages from pre-K to adults. Read-In hosts are asked to send in a brief report card after the event.
So, what can you do?
First, grab a group of friends or students. Designate a time and place for you all to collectively read. This could be at someone’s home, a local library, a coffee shop, or even in a park. The point is that this is an opportunity to explore and celebrate African-American texts.
Only 3 simple steps are required to participate in the program:
1) Select books, poems, speeches (anything) authored by African Americans;
2) Hold your event during the month of February; and
3) Report results by submitting an African American Read-In Report Card.