Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017
In February 2017, nineteen Westminster College students conducted the 8th annual African American Read In (AARI) at Farrell Elementary School in Farrell, PA. Thirteen Early Childhood Education majors in Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi’s literacy course (ECE 341) shared African American children’s literature with Kindergarten through fourth grade classes. Six Black Student Union students working with Jeannette Hubbard, Director of Diveristy Services at Westminster College, met with fifth and sixth grade classes to discuss career goals and attending college.
Dr. Klassen Endrizzi coordinated the event with Farrell Elementary principal Ms. Japraunika Wright and Ms. Nichole Columbus, Farrell Curriculum Coordinator. Wright grauated from Westminster in 2005 with a M.Ed. in Educational Adminstration. Columbus graduated from Westminster in 1998 with a BA in Education and later in 2005 with a M.Ed. in Educational Administration.
The AARI is an annual literacy celebration established by the National Council of Teachers of English. Its purpose is to ensure that children of color see themselves, and their life experiences reflected in books. One preservice teacher, Megan Lowry, noted the importance of sharing multicultural books with all children in this way. “The children were so amazed to see themselves, and their family, in the book we shared. One girl shouted out during the reading, "Her grandma looks like my grandma!” You could see the excitement on the children’s faces when we were sharing the story.”
Another preservice teacher, Samantha Maslyk, noted the value of making reading a deeper social and psychological experience in the following way. “Providing interaction along with a rich text is important to enable student’s creativity, to help them express themselves, connect with others, and relate to real world situations,” explained Maslyk.
To learn more about African American Read Ins, see www.ncte.org/aari.
For more information, contact Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi at email@example.com or 724-946-7189.