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Family Reading Night in Oakland

City Schools Celebrate Literacy

Oakland Public Schools have struggled for years with lagging reading scores. In 1999, only 39% of first graders were able to read at grade level. While the school district has made significant progress since then, scores are still well below national average.

Kerry Hamill, President of the Oakland School Board and director of District 1, North Oakland, hopes to change all that.

On Thursday, May 16, 2002, almost a dozen Oakland schools will participate in Family Reading Night in Oakland, the first of what the school board hopes is an annual event celebrating literacy.

The night will include a wide variety of activities aimed at sparking interest in books and literature, involving the family in their children's literary development, and celebrating the multitude of literary resources available in the community. Local personalities, storytellers, poets and writers will perform for children and their families -- free of charge.

"This is a night to celebrate literacy by reading to each other, performing original poetry and storytelling," says Kelsey Krausen, assistant to Kerry Hamill. "This reading night highlights the district's focus on literacy, as a cornerstone for academic achievement."

Participating schools include:

  1. Oakland Tech: Poetry slam hosted by TRYUMF (Trying To Uplift My Folks), with special guest, storyteller and poet, Tureeda Mikell. Note: Local slam poets are invited to participate in this poetry slam. Contact [email protected] to sign up.
  2. Carter Middle School & Emerson Elementary: Special guest reader from the Oakland Raiders.
  3. Chabot Elementary: Read-a-thon with children's songwriter and singer, Jane Timberlake.
  4. Golden Gate Elementary: Storytime pajama party with special guest, fireman Jim Whitty.
  5. Piedmont Avenue: Storytime pajama party with special guest, fireman Iman Usher.
  6. Hillcrest Elementary School: Celebrating literacy with special guests, CAL athletes.
  7. Washington Elementary: Celebrating the oral tradition with storytelling by journalist Peggy Stinett and the Reverend Joseph Smith.
  8. Kaiser Elementary: Pajama party and special guest reader, Senator Don Perata.
  9. Arts/Farwest: Book fair and literacy celebration, special guest to be announced.


With the exception of the Washington Elementary event, which will take place from 5 pm to 7 pm, all Family Reading Night events are scheduled from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Anyone interested in attending or performing at a Family Reading Night event should email Kelsey Krausen at [email protected].

The Family Reading Night in Oakland
Thursday, May 16, 6 pm - 8 pm
Free and open to the public
[email protected]