Bradenton youth enjoy June vacation with music class

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Children shouted, laughed and danced throughout a Friday afternoon literacy class as part of a series of June 17 celebrations planned throughout the weekend.

Bradenton’s 13th Avenue Dream Center hosted children’s author and artist Vincent Taylor to accompany the children through a disguised reading conference. Using a combination of hip-hop music and charisma, he taught a group of around 80 children how to identify comparisons and use contextual clues to define words.

“It’s about learning and having fun,” said Sharon Jefferson, who hosted the event as part of June’s fifth annual celebration, which also includes events at Ward Temple AME Church.

As president of Rosalyn Walton Education and Enrichment Services, Jefferson works to promote literacy in the community. She said it is especially important to teach these lessons when the children are young. Even seeing a black author and model can have a lasting impact on children.

“We want to make sure they read at the grade level. Not only that, we want to make sure they like to read. That’s why we have our hip-hop presentation. Everything is based on literacy. It’s high impact, high energy, ”Jefferson explained. “I think it’s important that children of color see authors and also see books that represent them and their culture.”

For an hour, Taylor’s rhythm reading with rap program used popular music to interact with children, guiding them and encouraging them to find ways to enjoy their education. He challenged children under 10 to identify idioms, comparisons, and alliterations.

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06/18/21 — Youth from several community centers converged on the 13th Av Dream Center for a June 17th celebration with author Vincent Taylor who used music and audience participation to teach and entertain. The celebration was led by Dr Sharon Jefferson of Rosalyn Walton Education and Enrichment Services. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

“From the first day I walked into the classroom, I believed learning should be fun,” said Taylor, who has 25 years of experience teaching in the classroom.

But the learning never stops. Each child in attendance chose their own book to take home and continue to practice what they learned with help from Taylor.

“It was exciting to watch the kids get so excited to read. I bet they didn’t even realize they were learning, ”said Robert Powell, chairman of the Manatee County NAACP chapter. “I hope they will continue to use some of these lessons when they return to school.”

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06/18/21 — Youth from several community centers converged on the 13th Av Dream Center for a June 17th celebration with author Vincent Taylor who used music and audience participation to teach and entertain. The celebration was led by Dr Sharon Jefferson of Rosalyn Walton Education and Enrichment Services. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas learned they had been freed as a result of the civil war. After being honored in the black community for over 150 years, Juneteenth recently gained the attention of the federal government, becoming officially designated as a national holiday.

It took longer than he would have liked, but Powell said it was a positive step to see Juneteenth receiving national attention.

“I’m really happy that this has been recognized. We still have battles as African Americans to deal with, but it’s good to see. Every small step is a victory, ”he said, noting that the NAACP remains committed to achieving police reform and raising awareness of systemic racism.

Other June 15th celebrations in Bradenton

saturday 19 june

Community festival on June 17

  • Address: Ward Temple AME Church, 1017 Fifth St. W., Bradenton
  • Time: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday 20 June

Ecumenical Father’s Day Service

  • Address: Ward Temple AME Church, 1017 Fifth St. W., Bradenton
  • Time: 3 p.m.

This story was originally published June 19, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton County Herald reporter, covering local government and politics. On weekends, it also covers the latest news. Ryan graduated from USF St. Petersburg.
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