South L.A. students displayed their dramatic skills during a reading competition sponsored by El Nido Family Centers and United Voices of Literacy on Dec. 14.
The event, part of the Readers are Leaders Program, featured seven youngsters reading excerpts from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” while community judges scored their presentations. The youth, who were ages eight-to-ten, incorporated emotions and jesters into their lively deliveries while audience members cheered them on. Actor Eric Buron served as emcee and regularly volunteers as a Readers are Leaders literacy coach.
Readers are Leaders, a six-week educational after-school program founded by Leah Sayles, is a partnership of UVOL, USC, Joint Educational Project Readers and UCLA Community Engagement. The program’s mission is to improve student reading and writing skills and to promote excellence in reading and comprehension. Readers are Leaders is also part of El Nido Family Centers’ Intergenerational Program funded by the Eisner Foundation.
Explaining their motivation in co-hosting the competition, Sayles said, “United Voices of Literacy believes that every person deserves to be literate. We empower individuals through literacy education.” Elaine Doran of El Nido noted, “El Nido Family Centers believe a child cannot grow up twice.”