PHOTO CAPTION: Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland poses with students from Main Street Elementary School after finishing up his Reading Tour visit at the school on February 18, 2020.
Office of Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
contact: Aigner Cleveland
Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland Reads to Hundreds of Students during Reading Tour
(CHESTER, PA) – Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland ended his Reading Tour on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 with a visit to Chester-Upland School of the Arts (CUSA) and Chester Charter Scholars Academy (CCSA).
Over the course of a month, Mayor Kirkland read to more than 200 students at five different schools in the city, including Chester Community Charter School (East Campus), and Stetser and Main Street Elementary Schools.
This year’s Reading Tour marks the second consecutive year Mayor Kirkland has chosen to read to students during the month of February. During each school visit, Mayor Kirkland read several short stories from Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History. The 96-page book, which includes 40 mini biographies on “women who changed the world,” belongs to the mayor’s nine-year-old granddaughter. “I wanted to select a book that not only celebrated African-American people, but one that was also age appropriate and showcased great illustrations for the kids,” said Mayor Kirkland.
While visiting Ms. Dietra Burton’s 1st grade class at Stetser, several children took turns reciting short biographies of famous African-American figures. Burton, who has been a teacher for 38 years, spoke about her students’ enthusiasm surrounding Mayor Kirkland’s visit. “The children were really excited to hear that the mayor was coming to our class,” said Burton. “For Black History Month, each student was assigned a short part to remember. I thought it would be a special touch for a few of them to recite their parts when the mayor arrived.”
During every hour-long reading session, the mayor occasionally stopped reading to pose questions to the students about the story. “Reading to our future leaders is important and helps to promote literacy; however we must also make sure they are able to comprehend what’s being read,” said Mayor Kirkland.
Mayor Kirkland, who also serves as Pastor for Community Baptist Church in the city encouraged each student in the reading sessions to repeat positive affirmations about themselves aloud. “I have found that when people think positively about themselves, they are more likely to love themselves and thus love others,” said Mayor Kirkland. “I want our children to feel confident about who they are and what they have to offer.”
Mayor Kirkland will host his next Reading Tour in February 2021.