Hampton Roads Community Foundation to Host Screening of “The Right to Read” and Panel Discussion on Literacy in Virginia

Hampton Roads Community Foundation to Host Screening of “The Right to Read” and Panel Discussion on Literacy in Virginia with State Superintendent Dr. Lisa Coons

For free registration, CLICK HERE!

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Collaborative Classroom and Norfolk State University presented a screening of “The Right to Read,” a documentary from executive producer LeVar Burton, on April 30, 2024 at Norfolk State University’s Student Center.

“The Right to Read” shares the stories of an activist, a teacher and two families, including one in Virginia Beach, who fight to ensure that our youngest generation learns to read. Burton was the longtime host of PBS’ Reading Rainbow and is a lifelong children’s literacy advocate. He calls literacy the greatest civil rights issue of our time.

Kareem Weaver, an Oakland, CA activist and educator, and Teresa Hunter, a LENA Start Educator from Virginia Beach, both of whom star in the documentary, introduced the film. Following the screening, a panel of educators including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Lisa Coons discussed literacy.

Vivian Oden, vice president for equity and inclusion at the community foundation, said the event continued to raise awareness around literacy in Hampton Roads and in Virginia. She noted that school divisions are planning for the 2024-2025 school year implementation of the 2022 Virginia Literacy Act, which requires divisions to provide core reading instruction based in scientific reading research and evidence- based reading instruction for students in grades kindergarten through five.

“Building equitable structures for children that will lead to them becoming skilled readers results in better lives,” Oden said. Low literacy rates have been tied to increased chances of homelessness and unemployment. “The Foundation seeks to bring the community together to discuss solutions and ways we can work together to solve the issue.”

Literacy discussion panelists included:

  • Dr. Lisa Coons, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Dr. Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, Endowed Professor of Virginia Black History and Culture at Norfolk State University
  • Viviana Andrade, Director of the Hispanic Resource Center of Coastal Virginia
  • Dr. Kelli Marie Cedo, Senior Director of Early Learning and Title I at Norfolk Public Schools
  • Emily Grunt, Program Director of SEEDS at Collaborative Classroom

The discussion was moderated by City of Norfolk School Board Member Rodney Jordan.

Return to all posts

Stay informed. Sign up for the latest updates from our foundation.

More Education Posts