Ward 2’s Pinto Reads to Kids in Rose Park

Sitting cross-legged on the ground of the Rose Park basketball court in Georgetown, facing a dozen or so small children and their parents, Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto not only read a book aloud at the citywide “Outdoor Storytime” on April 14, but shook it and turned pages upside down.

It was okay to handle the book in that way. “Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up,” written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Laura Park, is about two friends who are stuck sidewaysReaders have to shake and turn the book to help the characters find a solution. The DC Public Library donated copies of that book and others for each child.   

D.C.’s State Board of Education partnered with the library and with local community organizations such as Friends of Rose Park to organize the Wednesday-morning event during spring break.  Most of the readers were Council members. 

“Learning how to read can be frustrating, particularly if you feel like you’re doing it in isolation,” said Allister Chang, the event’s lead organizer and Ward 2’s elected representative on the board. “All of us have a role to play in supporting students in their literacy learning. Today is about neighbors supporting neighbors in a time of extreme isolation.

“We have a long line of volunteer advisory neighborhood commissioners who want to read in future sessions,” Chang told The Georgetowner. “I hope to combine the reading in the park sessions with the Wednesday-afternoon market so that parents can shop while the children participate in the reading.” 

Wednesdays are also good because the public schools have designated that day for independent-study work, according to Chang. “About half of Georgetown kids go to public school, and we reached out to them through the principals and the PTAs. But we also want to involve private and home-school kids as well, in different neighborhoods.

The reading groups are limited to 50 children. 

“It was a lot of fun to do,” Pinto told The Georgetowner afterward. “And even the rain held off until we were done.”  

“I love that members of the DCSBOE are putting on community-wide reading programs. I’m thrilled that ‘Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up’ has been chosen to be part of the program. The first time I read it to any class anywhere, in fact, was at Malcolm X Elementary,” author Eggers wrote. 

This event builds upon previous “Outdoor Storytime” sessions led by Brenda Richardson with Ward 9’s Friends of Oxon Run Park. Chang, a fellow at Halcyon House, also organizes volunteers for the Friends of Rose Park’s Wednesday outdoor market.  



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