Bed-Stuy literary event aims to promote reading

June 8, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
District 16 in Bedford-Stuyvesant held its inaugural Literacy Fair in Jesse Owens Park on Thursday. Pictured from left: Superintendent Rahesha Amon, Principal Leadership Facilitator Yolanda Martin, Family Advocate Camelia Brogden-Cruz, Noel Calloway, Parent of Kellen Calloway, Principal Nakia Haskins, Kellen Calloway, student and author of “Runaway Princess.” Photos courtesy of District 16.
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In an effort to promote reading and community engagement, the Department of Education Community School District 16 in Bedford-Stuyvesant held its first District 16 Literacy Fair in Jesse Owens Park on Thursday.

More than 300 students, their parents and local teachers were joined by several authors who read to the children. The kids also took home some books, including 15 texts to read during the summer.

“My vision for this event was to bring rich, authentic literacy experiences to the children and families of District 16, to help promote a love of reading across our community,” said superintendent Rahesha Amon. “With the help of The Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc., amazing local children’s authors and our talented teachers, we created an immersive and memorable evening for students and families.”

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This was the inaugural event that many hope becomes an annual tradition in the neighborhood. Amon took over the job as District 16 superintendent back in January, and has made it her goal to not only help improve reading skills in the kids of her district, but to create better community interaction with the schools.

Teachers and staff from across the district and local authors took turns reading aloud to the children, several of the student groups also performed skits. There were various literary themed workshops for the kids, like one during which they made bookmarks.

“It was an opportunity for families, community members, teachers and principals to come together and celebrate reading and the spirit of the community,” said Department of Education employee Bethany Antonelli.

There were many co-sponsors for the event, but none more important than The Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a group that has been active in the community in trying to promote reading among young children, and who also donated hundreds of the books that were given to the kids.

The participating authors included Peter Brown, Patrik Bass, Tishana Dropwell, Tashena Vannooten, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Kellen Calloway and Jason Spencer Edwards.

The kids received an autographed book from each author who spoke.


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