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An invitation — Join us for DCCCD’s African American Read-In on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas. The event is free and open to the general public; seating is limited, so come early! Families and children age 8 or older are particularly welcome.

Special guest — Celebrated children’s author and illustrator Ashley Bryan is our special guest. His works include “The Ox of the Wonderful Horns and Other African Folktales”; “The Dancing Granny”; “Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum”; “The Cat’s Purr”; “Beautiful Blackbird”; and others. “Let It Shine” received the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration in January 2008.

Program features — The read-in is pleased to host the unveiling of the 2008 U.S. Postal Service commemorative Black Heritage stamp honoring writer Charles W. Chesnutt. The program also will present a variety of performances by the Dallas Black Dance Theater, David Carr, Jaco Velarde, Richmond Punch, Ayubu Kamau Kings and Queens, O.W. Holmes Boss Band, Bryan Pitts and others. Program hosts are WFAA-TV’s Brenda Teele and KRNB-FM’s Skip Murphy; children will hear a special welcome greeting from Lyndale the Literary Lion!

An award-winning event — DCCCD’s African-American Read-In, endorsed by the International Reading Association, received the 2005 James Patterson PageTurner Award, a first-year national award for nominated literacy projects started by Patterson, an author and New York Times writer.

A model program — DCCCD’s citywide African American Read-In is a national model for other literacy program events and has created several literacy initiatives, including the George Dawson Literacy Awareness Campaign. Through the Dawson campaign, George Dawson “Hold Fast to Dreams” scholarships are awarded annually to DCCCD students from the United States and other countries. The late George Dawson, a former south Dallas resident who learned to read at age 98 and wrote his autobiography (“Life Is So Good”), is the read-in’s literacy hero.

Partners and sponsors — K104-FM, KKDA-AM, KRNB-FM, Dallas Morning News, WFAA-TV, Dallas Weekly, Downtown Business News,, WRR-FM, Scholastic, Holt Rinehart Winston, Jokae’s African American Books, McDonald’s, Dr Pepper, Amerigroup, Comerica Bank, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Dallas Children’s Theater, Harlem Book Fair, LIFT, QBR The Black Book Review, National Council of Teachers of English/Black Caucus, American Reading Company, Dallas Public Library, Enterprise, DART and Millennium Motor Cars.

Community read-ins — The DCCCD read-in helps kick off Black History Month and encourages other groups in the community to hold their own events and to report back how many people participate. More than 35,000 Dallas-linked readers (students, organizations, families, book clubs and others) were documented in 2005; the Dallas citywide read-in goal is 10,000.

Volunteers — In addition to the work of scores of DCCCD employees, more than 90 percent of the people who help stage the DCCCD annual read-in are volunteers; they are corporate professionals, stay-at-home moms, educators, local professional performance artists, published writers and community activists. Volunteers of all races support and serve the read-in; more than 85 percent of those volunteers return the following year to renew their commitment to literacy.