Children’s Opportunity Fund Hosts Read Across America Day in Montgomery County

By Jamie Miura, AmeriCorps member at The Community Foundation

On March 2, the Children’s Opportunity Fund hosted Read Across America Day in Montgomery County, a virtual panel that examined—and celebrated—the role that schools, the community, and families play in promoting the joy of reading. We welcomed a panel of community leaders, including Kareem Bernard, Craig Rice, Tanushree Dutta Issacmanand Jennifer Sloan McCombs, known for their contributions as authors, advocates, and researchers.

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Council Member Gabe Albornoz kicked the day off with a Read Aloud of Perro Grande... Perro Pequeño to students at an Educational Equity and Enrichment Hub. Following the reading, the group discussed the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives—and coming together to develop impactful solutions that advance early literacy in Montgomery County. 

 Here are a few other take-aways that we found particularly inspiring:

  • Kareem Bernard, author of the children's book series Billy's Adventures, highlighted the importance of leveraging community resources such as banks, barbershops, salons and libraries to create safe spaces for our youngest readers. “We have to create an environment where kids are constantly seeing words.”

  • Children's learning should be a family affair, and jurisdictions must continually focus on the needs of children, parents, and families. Jennifer Sloan McCombs, senior policy researcher at RAND Corporation, stressed this by stating we must "draw in communities by putting families and children at the center of what we are doing."

  • The panel also emphasized the importance of recognizing that “education equity is not an end outcome; it is a continuous process.” Tanushree Dutta Issacman, associate organizer at Action in Montgomery, encouraged us all to recognize that "we need to go back again and intentionally engage with Black, Brown and low-income parents and hear from them what their experiences has been, what are they up at night thinking about, and organize around their needs."

Council Member Craig Rice, Chair of the Education and Culture Committee, wrapped up the discussion by reading Kareem Bernard’s book The Peaceful Protest and acknowledging the value of our civil rights and that, ultimately, we are all one community. 

If you missed the event, or would like to watch again, we invite you to watch our video recording.

You can also continue the conversation on social media by posting or sharing a photo of your favorite book, or the Read Across America postcards that were sent to Equity Hub participants! Please tag us @communityfndn and use the hashtags #ReadMoCo and #ReadAcrossAmerica.

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Children's Opportunity Fund is an impact initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation which brings together top government leadership and community partners to plan, advocate for, and fund strategic investments that improve the lives of children and families in Montgomery County. The Children's Opportunity Funds invests in innovative, evidence-based efforts targeted at addressing the achievement gap.