My Quest To Teach

August 29, 2015

African American Parents Empower Your Child with Reading

African American Parents Empower Your Child with Reading
William Jackson, M.Edu – Edward Waters College

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs
to the people who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

The school year brings new opportunities for academic success and
excellence. Each year provides 180 days of learning that can build a
student each year in preparation for higher education, vocational
school, military service or other educational opportunities.
Public education is a foundation for greater learning and the
development of a child’s mind in critical and higher order thinking.

Having over 25 years of public educational service and higher
educational teaching I have seen the power of education expanding
opportunities for African Americans if there is consistent parental
involvement, the travesty and truth is too many parents are not
encouraging their children in reading and literacy. When are more
African American parents going to grow tired of hearing that African
American children are the lowest readers, struggle with literacy and
have low comprehension skills? There must be a point where parents
grow sick and tired of being at the bottom and creeping up and down.
Education can empower children for dynamic and successful
careers or the lack of education can place a child as unemployable,
under employed or not employable.

There are developing careers that will allow a child to witness the
genetic structure of the human DNA and research cures for cancers
or birth defects, the future ability to travel to Mars and planets beyond,
explore the deepest oceans, live and work in the international space
station, develop cures for illnesses that have killed millions globally,
feed people in desserts and other careers in STEM, STEAM, STREAM
just to name a few.

As I have blogged previously: “the engagement of technology allows
African American children and children of color to expand their intellectual
and creative abilities beyond sports, entertainment and the stereotypical
elements that society deems appropriate for African American children.”
Parents must set the stage to encourage reading and literacy to grow
and strengthen comprehension.

The world has embraced technology to a point that toddlers are attracted
to the shiny screens of tablets and Smartphones. This is an automatic
affinity to the engagement of technology and empowerment that
technology can provide; every opportunity parents should incorporate
reading and comprehension skills. Games are for entertainment, fun and
enjoyment, learning can have an awesome effect if parents would direct
their children to educational sites online instead of foolery.

“My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the
rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” Malcolm X
More African American youth, teens and young adults need to
have this philosophy and thirst for knowledge. Parents set the
educational platforms at infancy by reading to their children,
introducing them to books and learning materials.
The critical part of any successful educational endeavor is
the involvement of parents. Critical to valuing education, the
empowerment of learning and the direction of continued
educational success are from parents and their collaboration
with teachers and schools. Technology has opened up a new
period of educational and social evolution. Parents must be
willing to be involved and put their children in situations
of academic and technical growth.
Parents need to understand their part and get involved in
their child’s education. If they do not more cities will close
schools just as in Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities of the
past years.

Many schools closed will be in African American neighborhoods
where parents are not involved, seem to not care about working with
teachers and allow their children’s educational opportunities to
be destroyed. If African Americans are silent about their educational
thirst they will be ignored and moved from sight, allowed to wither
away by intellectual dehydration, a slow death of unemployment,
lack of community re-investments, dying economic opportunities.

The words by Malcolm X ring true even in the 21st century,
“People don’t realize how a man’s (woman’s) whole life can
be changed by one book.” Malcolm X

Encouraging your child to read is not always a game, it needs to
be planned, engaged and active in the home.

Reading Resources
Photo Listing of African American Nonfiction Books

August 20, 2015

Readers Theater: Connecting to Literacy, Learning and Comprehension

Filed under: Comprehension,Education,Literacy,Reading — William Jackson @ 5:46 pm


Readers Theater: Connecting to Literacy, Learning and Comprehension
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
Readers Theater IT Manager
Social Media Visionary

The importance of literacy can be seen in the reading and comprehension
scores of thousands of school age children across the nation in assessments,
and in data collected to evaluate reading levels of school aged children.
Literacy, comprehension, phonics, storytelling, visual word and letter
recognition, audible recognition of letters and words all play an influential
part in reading success.

A quote by Fredrick Douglass shows how valuable reading is,
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

The accountability and responsibility of establishing a reading foundation
for children is with parents, the expansion of reading readiness and
application to learning in an active and engaged learning environment
is created by teachers. Reading with understanding, reading with
comprehension, reading with a purpose is important to creating an
atmosphere of discovery, curiosity, excitement and literary
expansion beyond the classroom. Students need to have books in their
hands to appreciate and respect reading. Computers/technology cannot
replace books.

Teachers create an atmosphere in school to encourage reading and
comprehension; they do not in most cases make reading fun. The
educational application shared with students is that reading is vital
to be engaged into a culture of reading. Ambeth Ocampo stated that
“School made us ‘literate’ but did not teach us to read for pleasure.”
The pleasure of reading needs to come from home, where the student
spends their family time. Parents should be prepared to encourage reading
by having a reading library at home, materials can be magazines, books,
and other types of literature to engage their children in reading.

How important is a free library card, take a child to the library and let them
explore the age appropriate resources and see the expressions of excitement,
intrigue and adventure on their faces. The challenge should not be getting
them to read, the goal should be getting them to read with comprehension,
purpose and enjoyment. Parents need to have appropriate resources
to encourage exploration and adventure, to increase the natural curiosity
of children.
Libraries are effective, the diversity of libraries, museums and cultural
centers direct reading for a purpose in exploration. Determining what a
child is interested in is easy, just ask…

Contact Information:
Tangela Floyd
Young Minds Building Success Charities
(904) 6356167
SKYPE: tangela.floyd
Web site:

Blog Site:
Social Media Admin:
Wm Jackson
@readertheater  #ReaderTheather #ReadersTheater

Photo Documentary:
Reader Theater at the Ritz

Reader Theater Stetson Kennedy

Reader Theater Womans History Month

Reader Theater Letters from Black America

Stetson Kennedy Home

Young Minds Building Success Charities, Inc presents
Introducing the Black Superheroes (A Commemorative Comic Book)
This comic book presents and commemorates folklore pictures of
10 Black Superheroes as derived from the folklore of American ex-slaves.
(Derived from Library of Congress archives; The Florida Slave, and
Palmetto Country by Stetson Kennedy)
A Reader’s Theater Performance

Tangela Floyd interview with Channel 4 WJXT
speaking about Black Superheroes at One Spark

Part 2 – “What is Readers Theater”

August 16, 2015

Chinua Achebe “A Text Book Act” for Education

Chinua Achebe “A Text Book Act” for Education
William Jackson, M.Edu.
Instructor with Edward Waters College

“Until the lions have their own historians,
the history of the hunt will always glorify
the hunter…” Chinua Achebe

Imagine a law that did not allow you to read on certain days
of the week, or at certain times of the day. Imagine a law that
governed what you could and could not read. Imagine because
of the color of your skin you were kept ignorant intentionally
so that generations would be treated like cattle or worse.

As one of the founding fathers of literature in Nigeria,
Chinua Achebe and others faced these same restrictions
directed to keep Nigerians oppressed mentally, this leads to
limiting the skill sets for Nigerians and Africans. The same was
faced during slavery for Blacks in America. The importance of
education and being a life-long learner cannot be expressed
in just text, but is shared through videos and even storytelling.
This is why libraries and museums are important, they create
the atmosphere’s for learning and continued learning.

Chinua Achebe at an early age was fascinated by books and
learning, books opened doors to higher thinking that later
contributed to Achebe to writing books that became
internationally known and inspired generations to make
formative changes to their value of education not just in
Nigeria, but all of Africa and globally.

Achebe was raised during a time of British colonialism
where students were not allowed to read books about
history and geography. To learn their own heritage, only
of white characters and history. Achebe states that,
“books have power and influence,” that is why they were
limited to what they could read. African Americans too
are self imposing themselves to reading, and the lack of
reading leads to a lack or diminished ability to comprehend
what is read.
Too many times because of the lack of comprehension and
the inability to read African Americans do not see that
literature can inspire and engage the mind to think outside
of the boxes of ignorance and lack of understanding.
The depiction of themselves (African American youth) as
gangstas, thugs, ruffians, and other designations that are
demeaning and even racists can be found in newpapers and
other literature. The lack of reading creates generations of
children that have no idea of worlds beyond their
neighborhoods, their cities and the building of dreams
to expand past their social and economic conditions.

African American families cannot afford to wait to be
“lucky” in sports and entertainment to escape their
neighborhoods, the successes are limited in these two
areas, and once escaped there is still the need to be
educated in higher education so as to not return to
their roots broken in finances and even in education.
Everyone has a story to tell, but if they are illiterate and
ignorant to the best promises of education they will
never be able to tell their stories or learn from others.
Chinua Achebe escaped civil war in Nigeria, he escaped
but the ravages of war and the mis-guidance of people,
directions and complications of leadership lead to
several million people dying during the civil wars in Nigeria.

African Americans must understand the limits of protests,
the sometimes futility of marches and even the brashness
of invading others in speeches and public displays of
violence. In the 21st century power and influence is
recognized and respected in the application of power
through applying knowledge, economic influence and
political alliances. African Americans must learn that
what they bring to the table is more important and
powerful than marches and protests.

Chinua Achebe is honored as the “Father of African
Literature,” but who do African Americans call the
Father or Mother of literature and learning? Youth teens,
and young adults know the names of sports stars,
entertainment legends that bring about feelings, but
what of those who try to create platforms of engaged
dialogue and discussion on intellectual levels? Have they
been long forgotten because they demand something
that African Americans are increasingly willing to give
up on or too many don’t value?
From reading comes writing, how or who will tell the
stories of African Americans and their history in the 20th
and 21st centuries if there are not enough readers of
literature and writers of history from the African American
perspective. Achebe has stated that, “good writing requires
more than dashing things.” He states that from an
interpretation from Nigeria, “a human is human because
of humans.”

African Americans must support learning and re-build the
respect and value of education within the African American
community. There cannot be just a reliability of schools to
teach, it must be the responsibility of African American
families that are engaged in learning in their homes and learning
in their communities.

If Chinua Achebe can be called the “Father of African
Literature,” African American communities must recognize
and lift up those that fight for learning in their communities.
Who are these pioneers and protagonists of heroic statue
who encourage higher and higher learning? History will tell
and the children of each generation will tell the stories by
their actions in schools from elementary to higher education
and beyond.
Why become a writer from Chinua Achebe….

  1. You have an overpowering erge to tell a story.
    You have information of a unique story waiting to come out.
    3. What you learn in the process of becoming a writer.

Chinua Achebe Interview on YouTube

10 Books that will elevate your child’s mind

Collection of African American Books To Learn about the Legacies

Rebel Mouse of William Jackson


Are Things Falling Apart in the African American Community

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