Students at JFK hip-hop their invitation for World Read Aloud Day
One never knows where the inspiration will come from when it is time for staff at the John F. Kennedy Magnet School to create an invitation for World Read Aloud Day.
The event is now in its third year. So the staff focused on developing a video invite.
“What can we do?” Assistant Principal Bryant Romano asked.
“This year when we met to talk about what kind of video, I had a vision,” Principal Judy Diaz said. “I’m thinking Hamilton,” she said of hip-hop Broadway infused smash hit.
They felt they had a hit of their own on their hands.
“We live in this world of hip-hop, especially at JFK,” Mr. Romano said, adding it would be the perfect genre to use for inspiration.
The assistant principal agreed to write lyrics, Ms. Diaz took on choreography and students were selected to participate.
The result? A one minute, six second video in which Mr. Romano raps encouragement to participate while students dance through the hallways and classrooms of their school, books in hand and sunglasses on.
The video soon netted more than 500 views and was shared by LitWorld and One World Literacy, two international organizations that promote literacy.
The video is a big step in the invitations the school has sent out in the first two years they celebrated World Read Aloud Day. In the first year, Ms. Diaz said, the video consisted of individual students asking, “Will you read to me?”
“Who is going to say no to that?” Ms. Diaz said.
Last year staff were involved.
“The idea behind it is to just share the love of reading, share books, what it sounds like to have a book read to you,” Mr. Romano said.
World Read Aloud Day, which this year will be celebrated on Feb. 1, was created by Pam Allyn, the founder of LitWorld.
Each year students and staff at JFK have invited special guests from the broader community throughout Port Chester to come to their school to read aloud to different classes as a way to celebrate. Each year Ms. Diaz and Mr. Romano put on a skit to further encourage reading and, this year, have a special surprise program planned.
Students in the video are a mix of fourth-and fifth-graders who participate in the after-school Carver Academy.
Fifth-grader Dixmery Reynoso she said she liked the part in the video where the students kept screaming “WORLD READ ALOUD DAY!”
Evelyn Albares, another fifth-grader, said she especially liked wearing the sunglasses. When it comes to reading, however, her favorite is The Dot.
Fourth grader Owen Dorsainvil enjoys reading action and mysteries. He said he was surprised to be selected to be in the video and had fun wearing the sunglasses.
Natalia Christie, a fellow fourth-grader, said she liked the dancing they did as part of the video.
Sophia Camacho and Astrid Martins, both in fourth grade, said they like the fact that as good friends, they got to have fun together making the video.
“I feel special because we were the only kids selected,” Sophia said of being a part of the video invitation.
The school community had an opportunity to see the video when it was completed when it was shown in the school’s auditorium.
“This is the first year we released the video,” Mr. Romano said. “It’s cool, it’s fun.”
The school has also incorporated a digital read-aloud program to further encourage reading. Ms. Diaz read Those Shoes, which was broadcast to each classroom.
“It’s a way to share a book with the entire school at the same time,” Ms. Diaz said. “It’s a different way to share the reading experience.”
“Reading,” Mr. Romano added, “is not just one day. We read for fun, enjoyment every day.”
“I feel like we have evolved every year,” Ms. Diaz said of the creative invitations staff have developed. “It’s about getting the kids involved and celebrating this beautiful concept of reading and getting people to come to this fun school.”