For the 15th year, the UNI African American Read-In is part of National African American Read-In activities planned nationwide during Black History Month. In light of COVID-19 guidelines, this year’s event is being held remotely on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with Waterloo and Hudson community school district first graders.
In 2020, nearly 1,000 first grade students from Waterloo and Hudson schools were among the more than one million readers from all races, ethnic groups and states celebrating African American authors, illustrators and literacy.
This year’s planning group is finalizing a slate of activities which, in partnership with area teachers, will connect authors, celebrity readers and UNI faculty and students virtually with these local students, whether they are in a classroom or at home.
Nationally and locally recognized authors and celebrity readers lead the activities with readings planned throughout the day. They include:
- Celebrated children’s book authors Ty Allan Jackson, who returns after headlining the 2020 event, and Crystal Swain-Bates
- Rev. Abraham L. Funchess, Jr., local author of Rise!
- Ryan Joiner, a UNI alum and teacher in Iowa
- Celebrity readers Gabby Goodwin, a 13-year-old entrepreneur and CEO of Confidence, and Amber Collins, proprietor of the new Soul Book Nook in Waterloo
Additional celebrity readers from the community and UNI administrators, faculty, students and staff will read selected books.
Other projects in development include an activity packet for hands-on projects which UNI Curriculum and Instruction faculty are creating which students can complete in between reading segments or later.
The UNI College of Education is joined by the following offices and organizations in supporting this year’s event: UNI President’s and Provost’s Office, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, HNI Instructional Resource and Technology Services, Rod Library, Community Engagement Partners, Waterloo Community School District and Cedar Valley Readers Coalition. The read-in is being held in conjunction with the UNI African American Children and Families Conference being held virtually on February 12.
The National African American Read-In is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and endorsed by the International Reading Association.