More than one-third of fourth graders in the United States read at a “below basic” level, according to a recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Even more alarming, more than half of Black, Hispanic, and Native American fourth graders score “below basic” on reading tests, the report found.
“What good is winning the right to vote if we can’t even read the ballot?” asks NAACP activist Kareem Weaver in the “The Right to Read.” The 2023 documentary by Jenny Mackenzie and produced by “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton addresses the literacy crisis as the greatest civil rights issue of our time.
Bucks County Community College invites the public to a free screening of “The Right to Read” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Newtown campus. The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion featuring three educators and activists.
The following panelists will share their expertise on the topic after the screening.
Brooks Imel, is an independent educational consultant who works with neurodiverse students as an admissions counselor and executive function coach. His doctoral research focused on the cognitive processes involved in reading, and how comprehension differs when students read from screens versus paper.
Kevin E. Leven is co-leader of the Bucks County Anti-Racism Coalition, a nonprofit charity organization dedicated to educating, informing, and taking action on matters of racial justice. He is also a columnist for the Bucks County Beacon online publication, where he regularly contributes to the “Race Matters” monthly op-ed column.
Lynne B. Millard is principal leadership coach and special advisor of school impact with the School District of Philadelphia. In this dual role, the veteran educator develops and coaches new school leaders, and serves as a liaison between department leaders, key stakeholders, and the Deputy Superintendent.
“The Right to Read” documentary and discussion is sponsored by the College’s Office of the Provost, Bucks Wellness, DEI Programs, Library, and Social & Behavioral Science Department. Learn more about the film at therighttoreadfilm.org.
The free event takes place in the Zlock Performing Arts Center, located in the Gateway Center building on the Newtown campus at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, Pa., 18940. There is ample free parking.
“The Right to Read” is among several educational forums at Bucks County Community College to encourage dialog on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more, visit bucks.edu/diversity or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.