Sunday, February 1, 2004

Read-In spotlights black authors

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tristate English teachers say there's no better way to celebrate today's kickoff of Black History Month than gathering with friends to read great literature.

The Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English is encouraging schools, libraries, community organizations and businesses to hold events that promote literacy and highlight black writers during the month's celebration.

Suggested dates are today or Monday in schools.

The National African American Read-In, endorsed by the International Reading Association, has drawn participants from 49 states, the West Indies and African countries.

To be counted as a participant:

• Select books authored by African-Americans.

• Conduct your Read-In(s) on the days designated.

• Report your results by submitting the 2004 African-American Read-In Report Card. You can access the report card online at

Connie Robinson, an English teacher at Jacobs High School in Winton Place, said literature by minority authors shouldn't be a focus just in February. This year, she has already taught August Wilson's play Fences, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

"I make a special effort all year long to teach minority literature because the people I teach are in different minorities," she said.

Education professor Jerrie C. Scott, who directs the University of Memphis Reading Center, launched the first National African-American Read-In 15 years ago when she was dean of education at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

She said the Read-In has at least 700,000 participants annually.

For information, including a suggested reading list, go to Web site.


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