89.1 WEMU

Local Advocacy Group Creates Online Reading Program During Coronavirus Crisis

Mar 27, 2020

(From L to R) Dr. Benjamin Edmondson and Jason Gold of Gem Advocacy Group
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Saying they are always looking for ways to be creative, Gem Advocacy Group co-founders Dr. Benjamin Edmondson and Jason Gold launched an online reading series to help kids from elementary school age to high school engage in literacy, while all schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with the Washtenaw County area men about their effort.

Both Ben Edmondson and Jason Gold can be seen reading books and explaining vocabulary words on their organization's Youtube page and their individual Facebook pages (Link to Gold's page and link to Edmondson's page).  Edmondson said, "They're turning passion for children and families into learning experiences for kids and their families."  

Gold, who has four elementary-aged children himself, reads to them as part of the process.  Edmondson dialogues with his 16 year-old son Pierce about some of the books they are reading to bring more history and perspective to the process.  Both say while schools are closed, they felt passionate about taking books and bringing them to life for readers of all ages.  

Edmondson says he has heard of people watching the reading videos all over the country and said it is impactful to know they are being seen.  He added, "As African American men, they are modeling for other families that look like them, adding you don't always get an opportunity to see men of color ready."

But both say the online reading program is intended for everyone, getting into homes and reading, tapping into their passions and expertise and their experience.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu