SMSD News: Read Across SMSD – Celebrating Black history

A Comanche Elementary school library book about baseball player Jackie Robinson drew a glowing review from fourth-grader Harrison Berola. “I rate it 1,000 out of 10,” Berola shared. “You should

A Comanche Elementary school library book about baseball player Jackie Robinson drew a glowing review from fourth-grader Harrison Berola.

“I rate it 1,000 out of 10,” Berola shared. “You should check it out. I would read it again!”

Harrison and students at Comanche Elementary were joined recently by April Boyd-Noronha, Board of Education member, for a Read-In. They did this to join in Read Across SMSD, which throughout the month of February is based on the theme “Celebrating Black History.”

Click here to see a video.

Across the country, many students will be joining in the National African American Read-In, focused on reading books by African American authors.

“Stories are so powerful and this is one of the many ways we can be inspired to learn more about Black History – not just in February, but throughout the year,” Boyd-Noronha shared.

The elementary featured book, selected by the National Education Association, is called “Because Claudette” by Tracey Baptiste. The book is about Claudette Colvin who helped make history at the age of 15. She helped inspire an entire movement, and by working with others, played a role in making lasting change.

At Comanche, students Dominai Lacey and Jeronimo Hernandez Ortiz joined Berola in highlighting books they read to celebrate Black history. Lacey highlighted “Rebound” by Kwame Alexander, a book that featured one of her favorite subjects: basketball. Hernandez Ortiz highlighted the book “I am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James.

“Thank you for giving us ideas for our own reading lists,” Boyd-Noronha expressed. “You all recommended so many great books for us to read. What a great way to celebrate Black history!”

Boyd-Noronha also extended thanks to Comanche librarian, Fallon Farohki, who organized the Read-In opportunity.

February reading resources

Read Across SMSD is modeled after the national Read Across America program, and is led in partnership with NEA Shawnee Mission. Access to books for Shawnee Mission students is made possible through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

Here are the Read Across America February titles encouraging readers to celebrate Black history:

NEA Book List:

“Because Claudette”
By Tracey Baptiste and Illustrated by Tonya Engel
Click here to learn more.

Middle Grade
“When Winter Robeson Came”
By Brenda Woods
Click here to learn more.

Young Adult
“Revolution in our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People”
By Kekla Magoon
Click here to learn more.

The links above provide activity ideas, discussion ideas, reflective writing questions, and related resources for more titles to try for each age group.

Click here to find out more and participate in Read Across SMSD. Post your participation on social media using #ReadAcrossSMSD.

Shawnee Mission School District is the third largest school district in Kansas. The district serves students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade in 34 elementary schools, five middle schools, five high schools, and several educational centers. It has been consistently ranked among the finest school districts nationwide for its high student performance. The district’s objective is that each student will have a personalized learning plan that will prepare them for college and careers, with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. The district serves a diverse student population from 14 cities within northeast Johnson County, Kansas, which is 10 miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit www.smsd.org.

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