UNI’s 14th African American Read-In expected to draw 800 first-graders

More than 800 first-graders from Waterloo and Hudson school districts are expected to attend the University of Northern Iowa’s African American Read-In, which will feature an expanded slate of activities and for the first time send each student home with a book.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Maucker Union. The read-in is held annually in conjunction with the African American Children and Families Conference, slated for Feb. 27-28 at the college.

The event celebrates the literary works of African-American authors during Black History Month and is part of the National African American Read-In, which engages more than 1 million readers annually.

This year’s special guest is Ty Allan Jackson, an award-winning children’s book author, literacy advocate, publisher and motivational speaker. He is the founder of Big Head Books LLC, a literacy organization that aims to introduce children to the joys of reading.

Future teachers are actively involved in the read-in, along with faculty, staff, community and celebrity readers. Activities include:       

  • Individualized readings from books by and about African American culture selected by Katelyn Brown, UNI youth services librarian and Rod Library staff.
  • UNI mascots TC and TK.
  • Literacy-related activities.
  • Jump roping, arts and crafts, pantomime and playacting.

Gloria Kirkland-Holmes, associate professor in curriculum and instruction at the College of Education, coordinates the event with volunteer partners across campus.


Steve Schmadeke, public relations manager, steve.schmadeke@uni.edu or 319-273-6120