Read Alongside Taye Diggs for National Reading Month

Jerriann Sullivan
Oct. 26, 2017

Actor Taye Diggs partnered with National Head Start Association to celebrate books and learning. 

Image via National Head Start Association.

If you're looking for another way to celebrate National Reading Month with kids, the actor Taye Diggs has you covered. He partnered with the National Head Start Association (NHSA) to promote family literacy and a love for books among America's youngest readers. 

"Taye Diggs has co-authored two children’s books, Chocolate Me! and Mixed Me!, and we embrace his message of promoting cultural understanding and pride," Olivia Burlingame Goumbri of NHSA told "As Ambassador, Taye will help raise awareness about the importance of Head Start and quality early education programs for our nation’s most vulnerable children." 

NHSA programs across America have planned reading activities for kids to accompany the books, which teachers and parents can access here. NHSA is a nonprofit that continues the work started in 1965 when the Head Start Project launched to provide child development programs to the country's underprivileged children. 
"Reading creates self-awareness and inspires children to love themselves while building strong and unified communities," Goumbri said. 
Beth Tilleson runs a local NHSA program in Northwestern Wisconsin. The school readiness project focuses on kids from birth to 5-years-old and their families. 

"We are entrusted to educate our most precious resource: our children! It is an important responsibility and a great opportunity," Tilleson told "More than 720 children and their families participate each year in a variety of school readiness and family engagement activities." 

Tilleson and her staff met Diggs and Shane W. Evans, a Head Start alumnus and the illustrator of the actor's books. The pair talked about their commitment to supporting early literacy.

Images via Amazon.

"Taye and Shane shared their version of Mixed Me through song and music. It was powerful," Tilleson said. "The message of acceptance, cultural awareness and pride shined through. Both books celebrate the uniqueness of every child and the importance of self-love." 

Tilleson told that reading is significant for children for many reasons including the development and stimulation of growth. 

"When adults read to children, brain development is fostered, vocabularies strengthened, and imaginations are lit. Children can learn valuable lessons on empathy, confidence, and collaboration," Tilleson said. "Vocabularies are strengthened as children hear new words, build alphabet knowledge, become aware of print, and gain phonological awareness. Imaginations and executive functioning skills are built as children hypothesize about, 'what might happen next?'" 

The skills developed through reading programs are crucial in preparing kids for school. Parents can also extend reading fun throughout the year. 

"Parents can get involved by reading to their child at home, volunteering in their child’s classroom, and encouraging language in everyday activities. They can visit libraries with their family, get a library card, and check out books." Tilleson said. "Encourage children to ask their parents/family members to tell stories about their own childhood. Draw, paint, glue pictures and have an adult or older sibling help them write their story." 

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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