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Fostering Role Models Through Reading

A program to enhance reading through community partnerships has continued at Trevitt Elementary School despite the health pandemic.  With the help of technology and personal determination, local judges, police officers, and college educators have all read their favorite book to Trevitt students during the first quarter of learning. 

Larry Carey wants to be a role model. That’s why he is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Trevitt Elementary School. “On the very first day of school, these young students and their parents don’t expect to see a young, African American male as their teacher,” said Carey. “I want to show them anything is possible.”

Carey relies on the local community to teach students the importance of role models. This past September, he helped organize the unique guest reader program. “I asked local judges, college educators and leaders at the Columbus Division of Police to read their favorite book to Trevitt students,” said Carey. 

Initially, the guest readers would come to the elementary school and read in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic scratched that idea. “I decided: why not use technology to record all these people reading their favorite book and then make it available to all teachers and staff to share with their students based on their schedule,” said Carey. 

The principal at Trevitt Elementary School said extending our community partnerships into the remote learning service delivery model for education is necessary given the health pandemic. “The goal is to optimize student interactions by creating positive opportunities that promote a sense of connectedness to the community,” said Dr. Keisha Fletcher-Bates, Principal at Trevitt. 

While most guest readers willingly accepted the opportunity to read their favorite book when asked, it was a little different for Franklin County Judge Chris Brown. “Judge Brown saw that I posted something about the special guest reader program at Trevitt on my Facebook page, and he contacted me,” said Carey. “Judge Brown said his mom taught fourth and fifth grade at Trevitt for 20 years, and he wanted to read the book titled, Parker Looks Up.”

Other books that have been read to the Trevitt Elementary School community include a story about the first Latin American United States Supreme Court justice and another book about the importance of how one person can make a big difference.

“Our partnerships to improve access to caring and encouraging adults in law, politics, and health sciences exposes the students to careers and role models,” said Dr. Fletcher-Bates. “It also ensures we counteract any negative associations with positive engagement opportunities that leave lasting memories for our students.”

Hopefully, these lasting memories will continue into the new year, remotely or in person, whatever is safest. “Congresswomen Joyce Beatty has agreed to read her favorite book in January, and so has Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin,” said Larry Carey. 

“As the principal, I am tremendously grateful to the partners and the staff,” said Dr. Fletcher-Bates. “Their steadfast commitment and willingness to be flexible and adjust the method in which we deliver reading opportunities for students has been unwavering."

To watch Judge Brown's reading, see the video above, or click here.

For other readings, please click the below links:

Summer by Dr. Seuss read by Commander Elrico Alli

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom read by Judge Jaiza Page

A Judge Grows in the Bronx read by Magistrate Lasheyl Stroud

I Will Be Fierce read by Princess Moss

I Am One: A Book of Action read by Dr. Chenelle Jones