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The Read Woke Challenge: Ignite Curiosity, Inspire Empathy, and Create Community

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

The Read Woke Challenge: Ignite Curiosity, Inspire Empathy, and Create Community

Presented by Cicely Lewis, School Librarian and Author, Read Woke; Gwynn White, Library Media Specialist, The New York City Department of Education; Margie Soto, MLL Teacher and Team Leader, Gwinnett County School District (GA); and Calum McFarlane, Primary School Teacher, City of Edinburgh Council

Sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group

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Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join us for an inspiring edWebinar that delves into the transformative power of the Read Woke Challenge—a movement that transcends the boundaries of traditional reading programs and empowers minds through literature. In a time when the truth is being challenged, this engaging session explores the rich history of Read Woke, its core principles, and why your school district should embrace this innovative reading initiative. View this edWebinar to:

  • Discover the origins of the Read Woke movement and the visionary behind it, Cicely Lewis
  • Delve into how Read Woke fosters empathy, understanding, and critical thinking skills
  • Learn about the multifaceted benefits of participating in the Read Woke Challenge
  • Hear about real-life success stories and positive outcomes from schools and districts that have embraced Read Woke
  • Gain practical insights into launching a Read Woke Challenge in your school district
  • Understand potential challenges in implementing Read Woke and gain strategies for success
  • Explore methods for measuring the success and impact of the Read Woke Challenge

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders.

Cicely Lewis

About the Presenters

Cicely Lewis is an educator and author. She was named the 2020 National Librarian of the Year by School Library Journal and Scholastic, a 2019 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and received the 2019 National Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Penguin Random House (PRH). In 2017, she started the award-winning Read Woke Challenge in response to the shootings of young unarmed black people, the repeal of DACA, and the lack of diversity in young adult literature. Her students were required to read books that challenge the social norm and give voice to the silenced. Using this platform, she had inspired the nation to Read Woke with educators across the world joining in and sharing the movement with their students. A native of Mississippi, she currently resides in Georgia with her anime-loving husband, Michael, and two rambunctious children, Tristan and Trinity. When she is not reading, you can find Cicely writing for her bi-monthly column in the School Library Journal where she shares her book recommendations.

Gwynn White-Best

Gwynn White-Best is the Library Media Specialist for the Robin Hood Library Media Center at an elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. As the school’s LMS, her main objective is to ensure that the library media center is integrated into the school’s instructional goals. Gwynn has integrated a Makerspace where students focus on STEAM activities—making, learning, exploring, and sharing—through high-tech to no-tech tools. She engages students and staff in a high-quality computer science program (CS4All) that balances rigorous and meaningful direct instruction with open-ended creative computing. She is currently part of the CS4All Culturally Relevant Education (CRE) Ingenuity Team which engages exceptional CS4All teachers in a two-year study to bring culturally relevant lessons to classrooms by developing meaningful CRE practices with the focus on computer science. Gwynn has successfully integrated the Read Woke program into her library for the third consecutive school year!

Margie Soto

Margie Soto is a first-generation Latina, a daughter of immigrants, and a proud product of the public school system. Originally from New York, Margie is a Lehman College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature and secondary education. She attended Mercy College to pursue her master’s in TESOL. She has dedicated 21 years to education with 11 years of teaching experience. Margie is passionate about learning about different cultures and life experiences from others. She is fluent in Spanish and English. While studying high school Italian she picked up Brazilian Portuguese in tandem. It is with honor and pride that Margie serves the multilingual community and she is proud to be a reflection of her students.

Calum McFarlane

Calum McFarlane is a primary school teacher working in Scotland. He has been implementing an elaborated version of the Read Woke program with learners ages 4-11, using different strategies in doing so, after becoming aware of the Read Woke challenge during a nationwide professional learning opportunity focused on building “racial literacy.” This program is now playing a central role in “de-colonizing the curriculum” in Calum’s school.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the ELA Today community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

LernerLerner Publishing Group creates high-quality fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Founded in 1959, Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independent children’s book publishers with fourteen imprints and divisions: Lerner Publications, Millbrook Press, Carolrhoda Books, Twenty-First Century Books, Zest Books, Graphic Universe™, Darby Creek, Kar-Ben Publishing, Carolrhoda Lab™, LernerClassroom, ediciones Lerner, First Avenue Editions, Lerner Digital™, and Lerner Publisher Services. For more information, visit

The Read Woke Challenge: Ignite Curiosity, Inspire Empathy, and Create Community


Wednesday, February 21, 2024
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
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