Read Across SMSD February: Explore Families and History

Read Across SMSD February: Explore Families and History
Shawnee Mission School District

Joining in Read Across SMSD this February gives everyone a chance to explore families and history, and get moving!

This month, one of the featured books is “The Electric Slide and Kai” by Kelly J. Baptist. In this book the main character, Kai, is getting ready for a family wedding. Kai works very hard to impress everyone by dancing “The Electric Slide.”

Inspired by Kai, Dr. Jarius Jones, director of classified human resources for the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD), joined Rising Star Elementary students in dancing “The Electric Slide.”

Click here to see a video

Before they began, Jones shared with the students that he is not a good dancer and always gets nervous on the dance floor. Music teacher Jennifer Maleta, the Rising Star students, and Dr. Jones all worked to be familiar with their grapevines, backsteps, step touches, and the brush and turn.

“Like Kai, I know if I keep working at it and with the support of my family and community, I can accomplish a lot,” Dr. Jones shared. “More importantly, I can have a lot of fun.”

Once they had practiced, perfected, and performed their moves, Dr. Jones thanked the Rising Star dancers.

“Thank you for showing us all how dancing brings us together,” he expressed.

Throughout the month of February, Read Across SMSD’s theme will be “Explore Families and History.” Students and families will be encouraged to talk and learn about their family histories together.

All books selected by the National Education Association (NEA) this month were chosen to help everyone gain awareness of the diversity of families that make up their community.

February Reading and Learning Resources

Read Across SMSD is modeled after the national NEA Read Across America program and is led in partnership with NEA Shawnee Mission. Here are Read Across America’s February titles, encouraging readers to “Explore Families and History.”

Elementary: “The Electric Slide and Kai” by Kelly J. Baptist and illustrated by Darnell Johnson

Learn more by clicking here.

Middle Grade: “Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It” by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Learn more by clicking here.

Young Adult: “The Cost of Knowing” by Brittney Morris

Learn more by clicking here.

The links above provide activity ideas, discussion, and reflective writing questions, related resources and more titles to try for each age group. Shawnee Mission School District librarians have also provided a list of similar book titles related to the theme. They can be found on this webpage.

What is Read Across SMSD?

Read Across SMSD is a celebration of reading across our community. We encourage reading for all ages across the SMSD in support of our district academic goals and our strategic plan belief that our community’s strength is derived from its diversity. Click here to find out more and participate in Read Across SMSD. Post your participation on social media using #ReadAcrossSMSD.