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Feb. 23, 2012 Volume 33, No. 21

MU group promotes literacy during Black History Month


Organizers hope program encourages children to read more

Mizzou’s Association for Black Graduate and Professional Students is promoting literacy and ethnic pride during February, Black History Month, through its second annual reading program.

Association members have kicked off the initiative by reading to children in their classrooms.

Anthony James, association president and a graduate student in human development and family studies, hopes the effort will increase interest in reading among children and increase their academic achievements.

“This program truly is scholarship in action and a real way that our members can give back to the community,” James said.

“From research, we know the importance of reading. Children who read well typically do better in school than those who do not,” he continued. “If we can lend some of our time, especially during the month that we celebrate African-American heritage, to inspire kids to read more, then it is well worth the time.”

James said the association wants to contribute by providing children of all color, creeds and backgrounds with tangible examples of success.

“We hope that our interactions with the students can inspire them in a way that they too want to pursue higher education in a field of their choice,” James said.

The program is taking place in eight Columbia elementary schools. The student volunteers will read the books to the children, and the children will have continued access to copies of the books at the schools’ libraries.

James hopes that the program will lead to other groups taking an active role in the community to help children succeed.