Today: Apr 14, 2024

University joins Barack H. Obama Magnet School to celebrate ‘World Reading Aloud Day’

Ali Fernand- Editor-in-Chief

Jack Abbot- General Reporter

The Barack H. Obama Magnet University School taught their young students about the importance of reading and inclusion with the help of the university.  

“You deserve to be here,” Principal of the Barack H. Obama Magnet School Jamie Baker said. “You are some of the brightest scholars.” 

For this event, the school invited students and faculty from the campus community to come read aloud to students, many of them being student athletes. Baker said this choice was a big deal for their students.  

Student readers with K-9 Jules and K-9 Brody in the Barack H. Obama Magnet School on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Photo: Ali Fernand

“I think what makes today even more powerful is that we have some role models,” Baker said. “Many of our children have this affinity for people who are in the Athletic Department.” 

World Read Aloud Day is an event that began in 2010 and is now celebrated globally. Its purpose is to advocate for literacy as a human right and encourage local communities to read aloud with students, peers and educators. 

The event began at 9:15 a.m. with Baker addressing the students and volunteer readers in a school assembly before assigning them into pairs to read with. In this assembly, Baker spoke about the importance of community reading.  

“It’s not just about the people inside this building who can do that,” Baker said. “It’s about the people who are outside the building who show compassion and understanding.” 

Principal Jamie Baker introducing the book to students at the Barack H. Obama Magnet School on Wednesday Feb. 7. Photo: Ali Fernand

The book of choice for this year that was read by all volunteers was You Are Enough, by Author Margaret O’Hair and Illustrator Sofia Sanchez. The book was written in honor of Sanchez, who was born with Down Syndrome, to highlight and celebrate the differences of members in the community. Professor Regine Randall of the Graduate Reading Program spoke on the message of this book. 

“We all might be a little bit different from one another, but chances are we love and enjoy the same kind of things, and we can be friends,” Randall said. 

She also spoke on the importance of the university’s relationship with the school. 

“Well, here we are at the Barack Obama Magnet University School, so we like to consider the students at BOMUS as part of our Southern family,” Randall said. 

Along with K-9 Jules, Sgt. Cynthia Torres of the Southern Police Department was one of many members of the Southern community to read to students. 

“It’s been an annual thing for us to come. We’re very pleased to do so and honored to interact with the kids,” Torres said. “We said we have such a collaborative relationship with our folks over at the Obama school.” 

Jules is a K-9 working with the Southern Police Department. He has been trained to act as a companion for students. 

“He actually has a command that is called ‘Tell me a Story,’” Torres said. “If they are struggling to kind of stay still, or they want to spend time in particular with Jules because he’s service dog trained, he knows exactly how to help kids that may be having difficulty communicating.” 

Baker said that events like this are important for helping to build confidence within the school’s students. 

 “If you were to look as you walk up our stairs, our main stairwell, you will see a lot of affirmations there, and we try to pour into our scholars and let them know they are enough to build their confidence,” Baker said. 

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