AU “celebrities” encourage everyone to READ

READ poster unveiling, Aurora University. 4/24/14 The walls of Phillips Library have become more vibrant recently with posters conveying a common message: READ. For the sixth consecutive year, members of the Aurora University community gathered in the library for the annual READ poster unveiling. Four posters were added to the library’s collection which features campus “celebrities” holding treasured books.

The READ poster concept was created by the American Library Association in 1985 to motivate young people to pick up a good book. Aurora University began producing its READ posters in 2009 and annually highlight a faculty member, two students and one member from the AU community; a majority of the posters have been designed by University Communications graphic designer Teresa Drier.

This year, a contest was involved in which students were invited to post a picture of themselves reading a book in Phillips Library to the AU Instagram page. Two student winners were selected from among the entries. These winners, plus the faculty member and AU community member, received a framed copy of their poster and were recognized at the READ poster unveiling.

READmillerJulian Miller, senior communication major, was the top vote-getter in the Instagram contest. He chose to be photographed with “Life in Black America” by James S. Jackson. “When one grows up as a young black male on the south side of Chicago, eventually he begins to thirst for knowledge, for truth, and for a better understanding of both his people and their culture,” said Miller.  “One day I stumbled upon this book. It put me on the right track to some of the knowledge I had been yearning for. The book contains key issues of concern to the black community, such as neighborhood, religion, health, identity, history and roots.”

READfuerstThe second student winner was senior psychology major Cody Fuerst. His clever Instagram photo entry depicted a miniature version of himself atop a stack of books in Phillips Library. He selected the book “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Toms Shoes, a company that donates a pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every pair of Toms that someone purchases. Fuerst says he chose this book because it provides a simple yet encouraging message that when we have a desire to make change or start something—to do it!

READericksonThe faculty member featured was Dr. Joan Erickson, last year’s Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient. She has spent her adulthood teaching about reading, about why some people struggle to read, and about how our brains work when we read. She’s taught students how to read, and she’s taught teachers how to teach reading. Erickson says, “Learning to read changes the lives of children. Continuing to read changes their lives forever. This is at the core of my life’s work — making sure that all children become readers who keep reading their whole lives. And since teachers are the ones who make that happen, it is also my passion to help young teachers develop the skills and beliefs needed to do this.” Erickson chose to be pictured with “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough.

READblockThe fourth READ poster model is someone who cares a lot about AU students. Cheryl Block, the director of AU’s Wellness Center, is devoted to promoting health and fitness to students and the entire AU community. A favorite children’s story, “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, was Block’s selection for her poster. “I had always been attracted to this book as a child, probably because of the illustrations,” she said. “A few years ago when I picked it up again to read, the message really took hold of me, so much so that it became the inspiration for my final yoga teacher training project. I developed a four-week yoga class series, using children’s books to help explain various aspects of yogic philosophy. The books were a great way to help people grasp what can be viewed as complex, hard-to-understand, but powerful ideas. In my opinion, we all can continue to learn from these classics.”

To view all of the current and past Aurora University READ posters, visit the online gallery.