ST. LOUIS – Books have the ability to teach us, give us new perspectives, and help shape our lives. But a lack of diversity has inspired one St. Louis man to make a change.
Statics show that approximately 70% of all black third-graders in the Metropolitan St. Louis area failed the state-mandated reading assessment last year. Julius Anthony the founder and president of St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature believes the Belive Project can change that number and inspire children to read more.
“When children connect to literacy it gives them confidence and the willingness to want to read, and that’s all we want to do. We are putting 1,000 books in these spaces and 80 percent of those books will be black children literature” said Anthony.
The goal is simple, to introduce students to more books written by African Americans and that have more African American characters. The Believe Project is now in three locations and just recently introduced to the students and staff at Glasgow Elementary in the Riverview Gardens school district.
“Each classroom kindergarten through 3rd grade will rotate into the Believe Space for their 90-minute block, children will be able to go in there pick a book, write, do whatever it is they choose that makes them feel comfortable… and we are going to see students grow” said Principal Curtis.
The Believe Project will be expanded in more schools and community spaces in the future.