'Kwame Rules! Come Get Your Reading Game On' with award-winning children's author Kwame Alexander to come to Allen Arena April 19

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Kwame Alexander, one of the most highly acclaimed bestselling children’s authors in the country will talk about reading, writing, poetry, access and equity at a FREE community “literacy pep rally” hosted by Lipscomb University’s College of Education April 19. Musician and poet Randy Preston will be joining Alexander for the literacy pep rally.

“Kwame Rules! Come Get Your Reading Game On” will feature Alexander, a poet, educator and New York Times bestselling author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, the NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. His newest book, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life, was released in February. Some of his other works include picture books, Animal Ark, Out of Wonder and Surf’s Up; and novels, Booked, He Said She Said and the forthcoming Solo.

The event is part of the Lipscomb University College of Education’s Literacy Series: Building Equity & Engagement. The pep rally will take place in Lipscomb’s Allen Arena from 5-6:30 p.m. The event is free, and refreshments will be provided. Please register at www.lipscomb.edu/education/kwamealexander. The event is made possible through the financial support of Leadership Tennessee and other community partners. Alexander’s books will be available for purchase through Parnassus Books.

“Literacy is vital to the success of an individual and of a community,” said Deborah Boyd, dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education. “It is about one’s ability to read, write, speak and listen in order to communicate effectively and to connect to the world in which we live. Having Kwame on campus offers educators, children and their families another engaging way to be excited about reading and about the benefits of literacy. This is a fun way to promote reading and to highlight the work still to be done in this area.”

According to a study conducted in April 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14 percent of the population. The study found that 21 percent of adults in the United States read below a fifth grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read.

Lipscomb’s College of Education and its Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning & Innovation launched the Lipscomb Literacy Series: Building Equity & Engagement this spring to create an awareness of the importance of literacy and to provide teachers with best practices, resources and tools for reading and writing programs in their classrooms. On April 1, educators are invited to “Global Voices: Reading and Writing in Our World” to learn more about bringing global literacy perspectives into the classroom.

This is the latest event that Lipscomb University’s College of Education has developed to encourage reading in Middle Tennessee. Last summer, the college held Camp Explore: Reading and Writing in Nashville, for rising first through third graders at J.E. Moss Elementary, an urban and Title I school in Nashville to increase their literacy proficiency in a variety of fun learning activities. It was one of 20 summer reading programs across the state to receive a Read to be Ready grant funded by a $1 million donation from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and funds from the Department of Economic and Community Development. This summer grant was led by Jeanne Fain, lead faculty for English Language Learning Program and associate professor of education in Lipscomb’s College of Education, who serves on two national book selection committees and is the college’s lead faculty for multilingual learners.

Three of Lipscomb’s education faculty — Ally Hauptman, Michelle Hasty and Julie Simone — have been selected to provide training for over 2,500 trainers and teachers this summer from across Tennessee through a $30,000,000 investment by the Tennessee Department of Human Services in the state’s Read to be Ready Summer Grant program. Through this program, more than 10,000 children will be served.

Lipscomb’s College of Education offers undergraduate, master’s, Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees. In December it was recognized for the sixth consecutive year as recognized as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state as it earned top scores on the 2016 Teacher Preparation Report Card released by the Tennessee State Board of Education. In addition, college was named the 2016 Model of Excellence in Partnerships by the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education; has been ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation. The College of Education’s secondary teacher preparation program shares the No. 1 ranking in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in their 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The college’s graduate program in the elementary grades was named No. 14 in the nation.

For more information about the Lipscomb University College of Education visit education.lipscomb.edu. For more information about the Ayers Institute, visit ayers.lipscomb.edu.

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