Jones Paideia Literacy Rally

Literacy Rally Caps High-Energy Week at Jones Paideia Elementary
Posted on 03/06/2023
Jones Paideia students at literacy rally

Jones Paideia Elementary School ended Read Across America Week with a high-energy We’re Lit Literacy Pep Rally that featured several special guests, including Tempo, the mascot for Nashville Soccer Club, and a giveaway that saw every student leave with a new book. Jones Paideia literacy rally

The Friday pep rally, designed to encourage excitement for reading in the kindergarten through fifth grade students, was sponsored by My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), which partnered with Nashville Soccer Club and United Way of Greater Nashville to make the event a success.

“We really wanted to come in here and create excitement for the students. We wanted this to be a team-building activity that the whole school could enjoy. It was nice to pull all of the students in for Read Me Week and continue to build that culture of love for reading,” said Lonnell Matthews, Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk and co-chair of My Brother’s Keeper, a nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color.

Volunteers from Nashville SC and one of its supporters groups, The Mixtape 615, as well as Sankofa Drum and Dance were on hand and read to students from a book of poetry titled “Hey You! C’Mere, A Poetry Slam,” by Elizabeth Swados. Each student was given a copy of the book to take home to help build their home libraries. Book cover

One of Nashville SC’s former players turned club ambassador, Jalil Anibaba, was a volunteer reader for the event.

“I thought this was absolutely fantastic. The energy was amazing, the kids were into it, the volunteers had a great time, and Tempo turned the whole place out,” said Anibaba. “The most important thing is that it revolves around reading, that’s the common denominator and what brought us all here today.”

Students also learned about various African drums and enjoyed music from Sankofa between poetry readings.

“We appreciate MBK Nashville, the Nashville Soccer Club, and the United Way for providing this experience for our school,” said Dr. Tesia Wilson, executive principal of Jones Paideia. “When our community comes together and surrounds our students with love and support, their dreams become reality.”

The pep rally is part of My Brother’s Keeper’s literacy campaign, I READ I LEAD, which focuses on providing reading supports for Black and Brown boys ages 8 to 18. The organization engages with over 40 young men every other week in six different MNPS elementary schools, including Jones Paideia, and is also in some MNPS high schools.

Ashford Hughes, executive officer for diversity, equity, and inclusion at MNPS and co-chair of My Brother’s Keeper, shared daily affirmations with students and encouraged them to continue reading every day, even when they are at home in the evenings.

“The ability to read provides our young people the chance to explore the world around them through the magic of written history and stories,” Hughes said. “Literacy is the superpower that will work to ensure our young boys and girls are able to fully engage and succeed globally.”

Jones students with books and t-shirts after rally
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