Students at the Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education (RSECE) got a good boost of self-esteem as they enjoyed listening to a read aloud by two local authors on Jan. 10 while being taped for a Make A Difference segment on KSDK-Channel 5. Click here to watch the news clip…
The authors, Adrienne Draper and her sister, Aja (La’Starr) Owens, read two of their books, which allow children of color to see themselves with the cheerful illustrations and poetry. Owens shared “Rock What You Got,” and Draper read “Which Shoes Shall I Choose.”
While the authors read, students in Beverly Shupe’s and Ann Moerschell’s class enjoyed wiggling their feet to show off their shoes and share what they liked about themselves and their friends.
KSDK’s Mike Bush’s segment of Make A Difference aired on Feb. 15 and focused on the authors' dedication to helping instill a love of reading in young children of color.
“We want them to see themselves in the book and know they are valued,” said Draper, a mother of students who attend Buder Elementary, Hoech Middle School and Ritenour High School.
After reading “Rock What You Got,” Owens said “I wrote this because it’s so important for children to love themselves and love others. I want them to know they are unique.”
RSECE Principal Dr. Jennifer Singleton said she fell in love with “Rock What You Got” when she was the principal of Buder Elementary and read it to her students. She then found out that it was written by a Buder student’s aunt, which made it even more special. Since then, she has become familiar with the sisters’ other children’s books that are endearing for young students.
“It’s so important for children to hear that poetry and relate to the pictures,” said Singleton. “That is what will make children want to read and write. Books like this are critical in building literacy.”
Before they left the school, Owens and Draper gifted Singleton with about a dozen books for the school's library.