The Troy Public Library and the National Council of Teachers of English are sponsoring the 2015 African-American Read-In event, in honor of Black History Month. This will be the event’s 26th year.
The Read-In will be held at the public library Monday through Thursday every week in February. The Troy Chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English and Troy University students from select English and English Language Arts courses will read to and with students.
The program involves all Pike County students from elementary to high school. Readers of all levels and ages are welcome.
Teresa Colvin, the children’s librarian at Troy’s public library, said that the program is an attempt to expose students to more literature.
“We want to encourage a lot of students who have not taken the time to get involved in the diversity of literature to just pick up a book and read,” Colvin said. “We have geared the event to making them (students) feel OK discussing topics in books, which we hope will make them feel more comfortable.”
The Read-In, endorsed by the International Reading Association, will promote reading for pleasure, as well as reading comprehension, and will share and celebrate works from professional African-American writers, African-American literature and art that celebrates the African-American experience.
Patricia Waters, an assistant English professor and the faculty sponsor of Troy’s chapter of NCTE, is one of the coordinators of the event.
“The Read-In is a national initiative to support literacy and to support the reading of African-American literature in communities across the United States,” Waters said. “Whether it’s information, history, fiction or fantasy books, we are here to support reading.”
Waters said that the Read-In will not only increase awareness, but will also promote a better relationship between students and literature.
“It opens up a dialogue for students to talk about reading,” Waters said. “Students want to talk about what they’ve read and what they like to read.”
The event, Waters said, will also benefit those people who want to read to the students.
“What they learn is how important the relationship that reading creates is, and I hope it will also inform them to foster reading in their own family setting.”
The Read-In focuses on the diversity of literature and shows students that literacy is still important.
“Academic success is still predicated on literacy,” Waters said. “Students need to be literate not only in terms of translating letters on the page, but also in their interactions with other people. Engaging in conversation and interaction with literature can foster the development of the child.”
Many of the university-student readers believe that the African-American Read-In is beneficial for the students of the community.
Susannah McQuitty, a senior English major from Franklin, North Carolina, and student reader, said that it is important to expose the students to various types of literature.
“I definitely think that it will impact the students,” McQuitty said. “In many cases, parents don’t have time to expose their kids to the diversity of literature. Sometimes it’s easier to put them in a room with a movie or an Xbox. Exposing them to literature, I think, is the best thing we can do.”
Carlisia Moore, a senior English education major from Tuscaloosa and another student reader, said that she is excited to take part in the event.
“I do think this will be a great event,” Moore said. “We’re just here to encourage young readers to read and bring back the principle that reading is diverse, valuable and important. These students are looking for someone to look up to, so we want to portray a positive image. I look forward to hearing the students say, ‘This is really cool,’ or ‘I can relate to that.’”