Grab a book! Students in NYC celebrate World Read Aloud Day

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn -- Several studies tout the benefits of reading to children and Wednesday is World Read Aloud Day.

At a kindergarten in Brooklyn, the NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza celebrated with students.

Students are generally taught to use their inside voices, but on Wednesday, the students at PS 1 Bergen were encouraged to speak up -- through the power of reading.

"When you read someone else's story and you hear their experiences, it helps you understand what they've been through," kindergarten teacher Lunisol Tavarez said.

Carranza read to a group of kindergartners in celebration of Black History Month and World Read Aloud Day.

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The nonprofit LitWorld started World Read Aloud Day in 2010 to create community, advocate for literacy as a basic human right and to amplify new stories.

For example, "Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield's First Ride" is an imagined childhood tale of the first Black woman known to ride a motorcycle solo across the United States - before the Civil Rights movement.

It's a snapshot of Black history the NYC Department of Education is working to make mandatory in public schools.

"We are in the heart of developing what that curriculum looks like, we are also exploring ethnic studies courses," Carranza said.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced in December it would be the first state in the country to require that high schools provide courses on Black and Latino studies in 2022.

While New York City does not yet have a timeline to implement its program, educators are hoping these students walk away with a hunger to uncover new stories.

"My goal is to help them see they can do anything they want and be anything they want to be," said Tavarez.

And maybe one day find a voice to write their own.

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