MADISON —Ten years ago, Michelle Belnavis organized the inaugural Read Your Heart Out Day event at Midvale Elementary School in Madison. She first combined it with the celebration of NAAPID, which is Feb. 11. Ann Arbor, Mich., Public Schools Principal Joseph Dulin conceived the idea of a National African American Parent Involvement Day after accepting the challenge given at the Million Man March to return home and do more to build, involve, and increase their commitment to improving the quality of life in their community, particularly for African Americans.
Belnavis (pictured at left and at right), now a Culturally Responsive Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Wisconsin RtI Center, was a classroom teacher and reading teacher for 25 years at Midvale Elementary School. On Feb. 14, she was invited back to Midvale School to join the 10th anniversary celebration and to read in the kindergarten class of Mrs. Hannes. Culturally colorful classrooms were filled with community readers, families, music, and West High School students. Children and families celebrated family engagement, literacy, and National African American Parent Involvement Day. Sixteen Madison elementary schools joined the Read Your Heart Out Day celebration this year.