Families, Community Members Visit Schools to Read With Students

For Immediate Release: February 6, 2014

Contact: Rachel Strauch-Nelson (608) 663-1903

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) will celebrate 10 years of Read Your Heart Out Day, an annual celebration of National African American Parent Involvement Day that brings families and community members into Madison schools to read with students, this Friday, February 7. Fifteen Madison elementary schools will participate throughout the day.

“Read Your Heart Out Day celebrates family engagement and reading. This program is about coming together, building relationships, and building community,” said Michelle Belnavis of the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center, who founded the program when she was a teacher at Midvale Elementary School. “Collaboration between home and school builds a bridge to establish a sense of freedom, power and belonging while students, families, staff and community members are engaged and having fun!”

“Our district’s Strategic Framework identifies family and community engagement as a priority area for MMSD,” Shahanna M. Baldon, Director of Family and Community Engagement for MMSD said. “Read Your Heart Out Day is a great opportunity for schools to build the types of collaboration and partnership with families and community that research shows are crucial to student success.”

Readers include parents and community members, as well as older students reading to younger students.

Media interested in attending Read Your Heart Out Day are invited to join school staff and community members at Hawthorne Elementary School. Media are welcome to attend the school’s celebration between 11:00a.m. and 12:00p.m. and a classroom visit at 12:00p.m.