Read Your Heart Out
What is Read Your Heart Out?
In 2024, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Read Your Heart Out! In the month of February, schools across MMSD participate in the district's annual Read Your Heart Out (RYHO) event in celebration of National African American Parent Involvement Day. Family members, community members and volunteers who identify as African American/Black read books, recite poetry or connect with students through visual or oral storytelling in the classroom during February’s Read Your Heart Out celebration. Read Your Heart Out embraces the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and sankofa. Schools work to embed these seven principles into their Read Your Heart Out event to make it special and to honor African American heritage.
About Read Your Heart Out
Find out the story behind the growing movement in our community that develops positive student identities while building strong partnerships with schools, families, and the local community.
History of National African American Parent Involvement Day
Throughout the month of February, schools across the Madison Metropolitan School District celebrate Read Your Heart Out, a day in celebration of National African American Parent Involvement Day. National African American Parent Involvement Day was founded by Joseph Dulin in 1995 and was inspired by the Million Man March. The goals of NAAPID are:
Promote African American parent involvement in their child's education.
Promote and provide strategies for African American parents and students to take full advantage of the educational process at all levels of the educational system (preschool through postsecondary).
Identify and develop partnership efforts between all sectors of the community (business, school, home etc.).
Create a national network on the state and local levels to achieve the mission and goals of NAAPID.
Develop fundraising strategies and put them into effect to finance the endeavors of NAAPID (grants, public and private donations, in-kind services etc.).
Offer educational workshops, seminars and institutes relating to parental involvement and eliminating the achievement gap.
Establish an annual National African American Parent Involvement Day celebration on the second Monday in February.
The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
- Who can volunteer?
- Why should I volunteer?
- How long is a reading?
- Do I have to bring my own books?
- What happens when I arrive at the school?
- Do I just read the book to the students?
- Should I bring anything?
- Can I take pictures?
Read Your Heart Out is an opportunity for African American parents, families and community members to celebrate Black culture, literacy and experiences in the school communities in which we live and work during Black History Month in February. We encourage all MMSD parents and local community members who identify as African American/Black to volunteer during this month-long event.
You should volunteer because it's awesome! You will have a chance to make a difference in the lives of our youth. This experience will also enrich your life! The event is growing larger every year with more schools participating. We hope you will consider volunteering as we bring Black history to the schools and help make the celebration of Black culture and experiences a traditional part of Black History Month in February.
You will sign up online to read at the school of your choice ahead of the school's RYHO event. When you sign up, there will be a time slot that you can choose. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled reading. When you arrive, please check in with the school front office staff and let them know you are a volunteer reader for the Read Your Heart Out event.
Tell the office staff the name of the teacher's classroom(s) you will be visiting and they will give you some directions on how to find the classroom, or they might assign a student or other parent volunteers to assist you. The teacher(s) will be expecting you! Many schools host a Welcome Suite with coffee, refreshments, pastries or even a luncheon. Staff will direct you to the Welcome Suite, if applicable.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Read Your Heart Out! Throughout February, schools are participating in RYHO in honor of National African American Parent Involvement Day. Many schools are seeking parents and community volunteers to read for their students. If you are interested, please read below.
How to volunteer
For our RYHO celebrations, there are two ways you can volunteer to share a story with MMSD students:
- Join a Classroom - Many of our schools are eager for readers to join their classrooms y for a live reading. The school will have a collection of books that features Black/African American protagonists, authors, and/or illustrators to pick from. Then join a classroom to share the story and talk with the students.
- Record a Reading - You can record yourself at any time reading a story that features Black/African American protagonists, authors, and/or illustrators. You can record on a phone (please make sure it is horizontal). Send the recording to the FYCE at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the website for classrooms to use!
2024 RYHO Participating Schools and Contacts. Reach out to their contact person or to the school's main office to set up your classroom visit!
Culturally Responsive Books
If you need ideas for books to read, check out our list of culturally responsive books. If you need access to a book to use to share for your reading, you can contact the school you are volunteering with, the FYCE team, or the Madison Public Library.
History and FAQs
Learn more about Read Your Heart Out in the "About RYHO" tab and check out the "Frequently Asked Questions" tab for answers to some common questions from our volunteer readers, such as how long a reading is or what to expect.
For more information, connect with us at email@example.com