Celebrating Literacy: The National African American Read-In

The Black Caucus of the NCTE promotes literacy as an important part of Black History Month by encouraging others to host an African American Read-In (AARI). According to Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, member of the Black Caucus, the AARI is founded on the belief that “a school and community reading event can be an effective way to promote diversity in children’s literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American authors.”

Established in 1989, the African American Read-In began as a suggestion by the Issues Committee to the Black Caucus of NCTE. The Committee encouraged the Black Caucus to sponsor an event, a nationwide Read-In, on the first Sunday of February. Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott hoped that one day the AARI would become part of the Black History Month traditions. In 1990, the NCTE joined the chain and began their sponsorship of the African American Read-In.

During the month of February, professional and community organizations, as well as any interested persons, are encouraged to participate by hosting their own events. These events can be as simple as sharing literature among a group of friends, or as involved as a community-wide event.

Though February is rapidly coming to a close, there is still time to organize your own Read-In. In order to be recognized as an official host, you need to: choose a piece of literature by an African American author, hold the event in February, and report the results of your event through an African American Read-In Report Card.

The report card requires information on the location of your event, the piece of literature featured, and the number of attendees, including both listeners and readers. The deadline for report card submissions is March 15, 2016. You can find the report card submission form here: https://secure.ncte.org/surveys/survey.aspx?s=883d7eb97ca7.

The NCTE has created several resources to help support individual hosts and hosting organizations. These tools include a book list, badges for online use, recent articles, AARI Video and Chat archives, and many other resources to aid in organizing your event. To access the toolkit and explore the available resources, visit: http://www.ncte.org/aari/toolkit.

To learn more about the AARI, and the progress it has made, visit: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CC/0242-nov2014/CC0242African.pdf.

This contribution was made by Christina Ugrovics, senior English: Professional Writing major, French minor at Elizabethtown College, PA.