As a little kid, my parents read to me every night. Then as got a bit older and learned to read, the duties were divided. They’d read to me one night and have me read to them the next. I cherish those memories and credit that simple, daily exercise with my love of reading, writing, and being a lifelong learner. 

Research continues to show that reading to children provides them with valuable benefits and skills that last a lifetime. With that in mind, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation created Storyline Online nearly 20 years ago. The platform is free for all and showcases celebrities reading stories to children—and their parents. Storyline is featuring a few relevant stories from their video library in celebration of Black History Month. It’s a nice resource, and each story is accompanied by a downloadable activity guide.

with Storyline Online

Watch Dulé Hill read As Fast As Words Could Fly.
Young Mason Steele takes pride in turning his father’s excited ramblings about the latest civil rights incidents into handwritten business letters. One day Pa comes home with a gift from his civil rights group: a typewriter. Thrilled with the present, Mason spends all his spare time teaching himself to type. Soon he knows where every letter on the keyboard is located. When the civil rights group wins a school desegregation case, Mason learns that now he will be attending a formerly all-white high school. Despite his fears and injustice from the students and faculty, Mason perseveres. He does well in school—especially in his typing class. And when he competes in the county typing tournament, Mason decides to take a stand, using his skills to triumph over prejudice and break racial barriers.
Download the Activity Guide.
Watch Angela Bassett read Trombone Shorty.
Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest. Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.
Download the Activity Guide.
Watch Viola Davis read Rent Party Jazz.
This story is set in New Orleans in the 1930s. Sonny and his mother are scraping by to pay their rent. Mama works in a fish canning factory, and Sonny works for the coal man before school each morning. When Mama loses her job, they no longer have enough money for the rent and fear that the landlord will turn them out. One day Sonny meets Smilin’ Jack, a jazz musician who is playing his trumpet in Jackson Square. Smilin’ Jack offers to play at a party at Sonny’s house to help raise money for the rent. The neighbors all come to sing and dance and before they leave, drop some coins in a bucket. Sonny learns how people can help one another “if they put their minds and hearts to it.”
Download the Activity Guide.
Watch Tia and Tamera Mowry read No Mirrors in My Nana’s House.
There are no mirrors in my Nana’s house. No mirrors to reflect the cracks in the wall, the clothes that don’t fit, the trash in the hallway. No mirrors. But there is love. The beauty in this child’s world is in her Nana’s eyes. It’s like the rising of the sun…
Download the Activity Guide.
Watch James Earl Jones read To Be a Drum.
Daddy Wes whispers to his two young listeners one morning the story of the ‘drum’, the pulse that has moved through the African people and through time and place.
Download the Activity Guide.
Watch Kevin Costner and Jillian Estell read  
Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream.
If there was anything in the world better than playing baseball, Marcenia Lyle didn’t know what it was. As a young girl in the 1930s, she chased down fly balls and stole bases, and dreamed of one day playing professional ball. With spirit, spunk, and a great passion for the sport, Marcenia struggled to overcome the objections of family, friends, and coaches, who felt a girl had no place in the field. When she finally won a position in a baseball summer camp sponsored by the St. Louis Cardinals, Marcenia was on her way to catching her dream. Full of warmth and youthful energy, Catching the Moon is the story of the girl who grew up to become the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team. Readers everywhere will be inspired by her courage to dream and determination to succeed.
Download the Activity Guide.   

#blackhistorymonth #blackhistory #blackexcellence #blacklivesmatter

Watch more and learn more at Storyline Online.