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Northeast NEA Big Read event targets young book lovers

Northeast NEA Big Read event targets young book lovers

NORFOLK, Neb. – Families had the opportunity to come together at Northeast Community College recently to an enjoy an evening of reading. Students in the Early Childhood Education program led a read aloud event as part of Northeast’s National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read program.

An initiative of the NEA, in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Big Read is designed to broaden society’s understanding of the world, its communities and its people through the power of a shared reading experience. 

Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor, said families came to the College’s Union 73 to listen to students read four books aloud, all with themes of inclusion, diversity and acceptance. 

“Children were invited to wear their pajamas for the bedtime stories from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on a recent evening. They went home with bedtime snacks, books to read at home, bookmarks with quality children's books listed on the back and a book bag to put all their items in,” she said. “Parents also went home with a bookmark listing quality children's literature and 10 tips for teaching children to read and an invitation to our next Early Childhood Education student event, Springtacular.”

The Springtacular is an event for families with preschool children. Families are invited to enjoy a free meal and a night of fun to learn about everything related to early childhood. Northeast Community College Early Childhood Education along with Power of Preschool, Norfolk Public Schools, Early Development Network, and Sixpence are sponsors for the event which will be held Thurs., April 20, from 5-7 p.m., at Northeast's Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture complex, 2301 E. Benjamin, Ave., Norfolk. It is free and open to the public.

Northeast Community College is one of 62 non-profit organizations across the country to receive support from the NEA, in partnership with Arts Midwest, to hold NEA Big Read programming opportunities. The children’s read aloud event is among activities that are focused on the book Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, by Rebekah Taussig. 

Taussig is a Kansas City writer and teacher with a doctorate in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies. Events this spring are focusing on disability, disability services, accessibility, and inclusion and are designed to promote open dialogue leading to a deeper understanding of how best to respect and serve one another. In addition to the children’s read aloud event, other activities include listening sessions, educational series, theatre workshops, poetry event, art activities, panel discussions, book clubs, and more. 

Taussig is scheduled to attend events at Northeast on Fri., April 21, including an evening reading in Union 73 at 6 p.m. The reading is open to the public. All events are listed at on the Northeast website at

“Our Early Childhood Education students had fun during our read aloud event. The families also had fun,” Guenther said. “It was a great opportunity to spread the joy and importance of reading aloud to children.”

For more information on the NEA Big Read Northeast Nebraska program, contact Jennifer Ippensen at the Northeast Community College Library at, or call (402) 844-7133. 


                                                                                              PHOTO CUTLINE 

Children listen to Destiny Holland, Norfolk, an early childhood education student at Northeast Community College, read from a book during a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read read aloud event in the College’s Union 73 recently. Karen Blank, sign language interpreter, is to Holland’s right. Several families listened to students read four books with themes of inclusion, diversity and acceptance.