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25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

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House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Alabama educators spotlight school libraries in student education

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Thursday, November 16, 2023   

It is American Education Week, a time to commemorate and reflect on the achievements of students, educators, and parents.

In Alabama, educators are spotlighting the vital role school libraries play in shaping students' future.

Katherine Baxter, a librarian at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, believes in the power of building lasting relationships with reading and learning by connecting with parents and students. One way she is doing this is through the school's free bookshelf program.

"The free bookshelves are books that have been donated by businesses, friends, people in the community," Baxter explained. "Students are allowed to take those books, and even parents can come in and get books off the free bookshelves and take them home to build their own home library."

She pointed out another way she engages and encourages students to get involved in reading is by taking them on field trips to public libraries, introducing them to programs there and helping them get library cards.

One of Baxter's goals is to involve entire families in reading and said this ensures students remain engaged and discover enjoyable ways to dive into books. To accomplish it, she and other staff members are introducing a family book kit for families to check out.

"There's a book and then an activity that goes with that book," Baxter outlined. "One of the books we have is 'I Ain't Gonna Paint No More' about a little boy who paints all over the walls. So that book is in the kit with some watercolor paints and some watercolor paper."

Baxter aims to inspire the next generation of readers, encouraging them to pursue knowledge and cultivate a love of books within their families and communities. She also emphasized to leave a lasting impact, education needs to extend beyond the walls of the classroom.


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