Hornet Nation Brings Love of Reading to Local Elementary Students
By Hazel Scott/ASU
As Alabama State University volunteers entered the classrooms at E.D. Nixon Elementary School, the children’s faces lit up.
The volunteers’ hour of reading disappeared all too quickly for both them and the young students who discovered literary worlds through the voices of ASU's students and employees.
To celebrate and commemorate ASU’s legacy and founders, the University's students, faculty, staff and administrators read to Montgomery Public School elementary students on Feb. 4, as part of the University’s ”Read and Rise” and “CommUniversity” initiatives, which kicked-off the celebration of ASU's Founders' Week.
The schools included E.D. Nixon Elementary, T.S. Morris Elementary, Seth Johnson Elementary, Brewbaker Primary, Dalraida Elementary, Garrett Elementary, Highland Gardens Elementary and Halcyon Elementary.
“Read and Rise is truly a part of 'CommUniversity' (an ASU word for reaching out to build relationships and partnerships between the University and the community). ASU loves providing the opportunity to volunteer and participate with the community's surrounding schools,” said ASU President Quinton T. Ross Jr. “This is what the University is all about, that’s what we stand for at ASU.”
The program hopes to motivate children to read, encourage achievement and create lifelong literacy.
“Reading is an important skill that is critical to school success,” said Ross. “Hopefully, the Hornet family will demonstrate that reading can be fun and enjoyable.”
Ross kicked off the event by reading to a class of excited and energetic kindergartners at E.D. Nixon Elementary School. He engaged students as he read “Dr. Seuss One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, and Blue Fish.” The kids waved their hands, counted on their figures and yelled out comments when he talked about carrying fish on your head or having twelve fingers.
“I love being able to read to young kids because they are our most precious resource and they are our future,” Ross noted. “Alabama State University wants to ensure the community understands that we are here to help students invest in their future to become anything they would like to become in life and that they can do that at Alabama State University.”
The excitement continued as other Hornet readers, who either selected their books from the school’s library or brought their own, read one or two books to their class(es) while emphasizing why reading is important in their lives and what their favorite books of inspiration were when they were kids.
All of ASU's Golden Ambassadors agreed that by reading aloud to a child, you show them what reading is like. “By taking your time to volunteer, you are showing with your actions how important it is for everyone to learn to read,” said one Ambassador.
Ross noted that the aim of “Read and Rise” is not to teach children to read but to get them genuinely excited about reading.
“It’s about literacy,” said Ross. “This (‘Read and Rise’) is part of that contribution to promote literacy. “We want to encourage students, to ensure they understand that reading is a fundamental skill that unlocks learning and that they have to continue to explore worlds beyond and they can do that through reading.”
Before the Hornet readers loaded into the bus to head to another school, each class showered their class readers with applause or high-fives.
Dr. Ross received a little extra from his class. All of the kids gave him a hug and told him “We like you, come back.”
And indeed he will.
NOTE: Alabama State University invites the community to embrace the University’s history during its Founders’ Week Celebration, which continues on Thursday and Friday with open and free events. A schedule of these events is listed on ASU’s homepage.