Bells Elementary School Celebrated their 16th Annual African American Read In


For The Press and Standard

On Friday February 24, 2023, Bells Elementary School Celebrated their 16th Annual African American Read In. According to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), “The National African American Read-In (AARI) is a groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.” -NCTE

The event started at Bells Elementary School 16 years ago and was organized by Peggy O’Banner with a luncheon for the volunteer readers that was organized by Dinah Bryant.  During the event, various community stakeholders volunteer to come visit classrooms and read to the students. 

The Read In tradition continued with Tameka Washington taking charge of organizing once O’Banner left Colleton County School District and then when Mrs. Washington transferred locations, Talika Green vowed to keep the tradition going. Since 2017, Green has invited several community leaders, school board members, businesses, sororities, fraternities, and churches to come in and read to the children. However, 2023 has been the first year since Covid that visitors were allowed back in the building to read face to face with the children. Talika Green partnered with Diamond Berry, Reading Coach at Bells Elementary School and Marlarrie Smalls to help her in organizing the Read In. The event still concludes with a luncheon and all faculty, staff, and visitors were welcome to take part in the luncheon (prepared by Bells faculty and staff), which was organized by Smalls. “The children were very excited to have visitors come and read to them in their classrooms”. -Tiffany Brewer, School Librarian. Brewer volunteered to reserve literature centered around prominent African Americans if visitors did not have their own material. The teamwork and collaboration at Bells made for a very successful day. 

The 2023 Read In has been monumental for Bells and it shares in the common goal for our children to be lifelong learners not just academically, but learners of history in its entirety. The Read In will continue at Bells Elementary for years to come! 

 Contributors: Colleton County School District, Colleton County School Board, Colleton County Museum, Colleton County Memorial Library, Ruffin Alumni, Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Palmetto Rural Telephone Company, Colleton County Sheriff’s Department


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