Eager young children enjoy hours of storytelling
By Chambria Gordon
Bright smiles and light laughter filled the room as eager faces waited with anticipation.
Carole Curry was just getting to the good part.
“Oh yes Anansi! said Tiger. ‘Isn’t this a strange moss-covered rock!’ KABOOM! Down fell Tiger.”
All the children in the room played along and fell.
Curry told the story to the group of amazed children during a two-hour reading session this past Sunday at LeRoy Collins Leon County Library. Curry was one of several people invited to participate in the library’s annual African American read-in, which has been going on for over 29 years.
Cay Hohmeister, a director at the library said the event was a success.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years,” said Curry, a retired teacher. “I love reading with the kids and I think it’s important that they read as well.”
Each reader chose their books. Some of the children’s favorites were “Cendrillon the Caribbean Cinderella”, “Anasi and the Covered Rock”, “Unspoken” and “The Tuskegee Airman Story”.
“My favorite one was ‘Unspoken’, ” said Jonathan Pratt, a second-grade student at FAMU DRS. “It taught me about being kind and I liked the eye pictures.”
Unspoken is a story about a runaway slave who hid behind a wall in a White family’s barn. One day a young girl was doing chores and she heard someone behind the wall. She didn’t know what he looked like. All she saw was an eye.
The little girl brought the runaway food and helped him because she knew he was hungry.
“I read this book to the children because the young girl displayed courage and kindness,” said Carolyn Elkins, a teacher at Springwood Elementary. “It’s good to have kids come out so they can learn the significance of Black history.”
All the stories that were read are related to Black History.
More than 20 years ago, the National Council of Teachers of English created the read-in, scheduling it for the first Sunday of February each year to recognize the beginning of Black History Month. In recent years, however, the event was moved to the second Sunday of the month to avoid conflicting with the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, the children were attentive. Each time a reader was done, they quickly demanded another story.
Parents seemed to enjoy their children’s enthusiasm.
“Children need to be involved in reading (because) if they start early it forces them to focus,” said Elkins. “In fact, their attention span will improve and so will their listening skills. It’s also a plus that you get to spend quality time with them. When kids see that you value reading they will start picking up books too.”