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The Reading Rap

May 28, 2015

Lenore Arnow reading rapToday’s guest post comes from AmeriCorps VISTA alum, Lenore Arnow. As a VISTA volunteer, Lenore created projects for community education and promoted reading for the Literacy Council of Buncombe County in Asheville NC from 1988-1992. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Old Dominion University, has a background in language arts, dance, and music, and is dedicated to creating  positive messages and imagery to help make our world a better world.

Reading Rap Group Drum. correctedAdd a drum roll and hand jive the next time you open a book with a child. During my service years, I created “The Reading Rap” to show how reading can help you do whatever you want. I wrote, produced, directed, and performed a number of television and radio PSAs for the Literacy Council based on its lyrics.

When teachers saw the PSA, they used “The Reading Rap” to encourage their students to read and soon found them rapping it on the playground. Students performed the rap in classes and chorus recitals too.

Following my  service, I didn’t want to stop spreading the message of  “The Reading Rap” – “It’s a great big world and you can go far, but you’ve got to know how to read!” I worked  as a mentor with at-risk children, and was asked to create “The Reading Rap” workshop in schools and after-school programs.

Reading Rap Performance 1.correctedThrough these programs, more and more students fell in love with the rap and with reading. I taught them the lyrics and directed them in creating performance pieces which I filmed. “The Reading Rap” became so popular that in 1997 I produced “The Reading Rap” video featuring their student performances. Since then, the DVD has been used in schools and after-school programs, and in a Title 1 project as an educational tool to inspire young people to read.

To me, serving my community and country starts with empowering and educating the youngest among us. It was an honor and pleasure to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA and it continues to inspire my work.

Take a few minutes today to share “The Reading Rap” with a child you know. Help me inspire more children to do something good for themselves and grab a book to read!

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