Nilda Soto Ruiz, GSE professor and chair of the master’s program in school leadership, read Caps for Sale during the GSE Read Aloud marathon held in honor of World Book Day on April 23.
Designated by UNESCO in 1995 as a global celebration of books and reading, World Book Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world to promote reading.
“There is something magical about books,” said Graduate School of Education Dean Dr Jacob Easley II as he officially opened the World Book Day readings aloud. Touro. “They allow you to gain insight into worlds that are not your own and also help us understand each other better.”
In addition to the 31 readings, GSE organized a book drive and delivered over 150 books to Bethany House and Regent Family Residence to fill their libraries.
“As part of our new early literacy initiative, Bethany House is building libraries in two of our residences,” said Bethany House administrator Merril Rosenberg. “The generous donation from Touro College Graduate School of Education will help us provide diverse and age-appropriate reading material for all of our young residents.
The reading marathon jumped between older classics like that of Ezra Jack Keats Protective glasses and Shel Silverstein’s The tree that gives, and soon classics like Hair love by former NFL wide receiver Mathew A. Cherry and La Cazuela that the young girl from the farm has stirred by Samantha Vamos. GSE authors Timothy Bellavia and Joanne Robertson-Eletto read their own books respectively We are all the same on the inside and The smallest coo discovers his gifts.
During breaks between readings, participants talked about their relationships with their favorite books and how these books influenced them. Touro vice-president Nadja Graff read from The hundred dresses, a book she read to her children and grandchildren. “It’s a book about being different – something we’ve all been through,” Dr. Graff explained. “Ultimately, the book is about kindness and generosity of spirit, as well as standing up and having your voice heard when you see something mean or hurtful.”
Several books were read bilingual in English and in a second language. The second languages included German, Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, and Spanish.
Dr Edmund Melville, director of the GSE Teachers’ Residence, spoke about the importance of portraying African American children in books like Hair love as well as the book’s emphasis on a father-daughter pair. “A lot of times we can’t see ourselves in books that we might want to read,” Dr. Melville said. “My daughter doesn’t look like the princesses in the fairy tales we read. Hair love is an important book because my daughter and I are able to see each other. It is not a story that is often told.
The last reader was Velma Cobb, director of GSE’s Lander Center for Educational Research, who ended the event on an uplifting note by reading a poem by America’s youngest poet laureate, Amanda Gorman. “We have read so many different books and experienced so many different cultures and perspectives,” concluded Dr Cobb. “It was a wonderful time and I invite you to the wonder of the words. Words allow us to express our feelings and understand ourselves in different ways. Books open up the world to us so that we can learn from each other. “
“Reading enables children to become active citizens in our society and sets them on the path to lifelong learning,” said Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Dr Jacob Easley II . “At Touro, we are committed to educating children with high quality reading instruction to help them develop their reading skills for exploring the world.”
The GSE Reading Marathon was sponsored by The Book Fairies and iHeart Radio.