2016 African American Read-In: Reading, literacy to take spotlight


Reading is the gateway to most other forms of knowledge. For many students, however, learning to read and enjoy books does not come easily. Learning differences, inadequate exposure to books and reading instruction, language barriers and lack of confidence in their ability can all be reasons why some children struggle with reading mastery. The level of family literacy and the amount of attention paid to books and reading in the home can also impact when and how well students learn to read.

The annual African American Read-In, set for 11 a.m., Sat., Feb. 20, is one effort focused on countering such roadblocks to reading. The free, family-friendly event will be held at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1819 MLK Jr. Blvd. Dallas ISD Trustee Bernadette Nutall, the district’s African American Success Initiative and Cornerstone Community Development Corporation are joining forces to attract students and families to the Read-In for a day of fun and learning. The celebration will feature music, dance performances, speakers, storytelling, book giveaways and snacks – all in the service of promoting books and reading.

“We want to instill in students a love for reading and help families build personal libraries to support reading at home,” said Trustee Nutall who represents 30 district schools. “The Read-in is designed to create excitement in young readers in hopes they will become lifelong readers.”

Cornerstone Community Development Corporation has served as a Read-In sponsor for five years. Pastor Chris Simmons says the event is a perfect fit for the church’s outreach programs, which are all focused on improving life options for students and families. “We promote reading in the African American community because reading is so critical to every aspect of daily life,” said Simmons. “Reading has a way of opening doors and opportunities that would otherwise be closed to individuals.  In our community, the better the reader, the better the chance of long-term success in life.”

Jamila Thomas, coordinator of Dallas ISD’s African American Success Initiative wants to be sure parents get the message that children who read more are virtually guaranteed to earn better grades, improve academically and ultimately have access to better careers. “This celebration is just one means of sparking families’ interest in reading, not just as a classroom exercise but as a lifeline to greater life opportunities,” she said.

Parents with questions about the event should contact Jamila Thomas at (972) 925-8820. Additional information is available on the Read-In Web page.


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