Thanks to a dedicated media specialist and a great partnership, Adamsville Elementary enjoyed a return engagement with noted children’s book author Ashley Bryan in an appearance this week at the school. Bryan is author and illustrator of such respected works as Beautiful Blackbird, which earned the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. He read to a group of children from the third through fifth grades early in the morning and followed up with a session for students in kindergarten through second grade. Bryan also read poems by Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes.
“He interacts with the children in a very fun way,” said Megann Williams, who in her second year as Adamsville’s media specialist has helped coordinate the partnership with the group Children’s Literature for Children. The group was founded by Kemie Nix and also works with Westminster Schools.
Williams observed how Bryan engaged the students instead of just reading to them, making the children repeat the words back to him so they could appreciate the rhymes being established. Sometimes the students would howl with laughter after repeating some of the rhymes. “It sets an example fo the students because it shows them that reading doesn’t have to be formal,” said Williams, herself a product of Atlanta Public Schools. “It can be enjoyable. You can start owning the poem. When they see African-American poets and illustators, it inspires them to write and draw as well. It serves as an example for the boys ,and the girls as well. We just want to let them know that they have opportunities that are limitless.”
Williams, who attended Peyton Forest Elementary, Young Middle and Mays High, graduated from Kennesaw State and recently earned a master’s degree in Educational Media from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s currently working on her educational specialist degree.