With the comfortable style of a veteran teacher and the finesse of the three-time book author she is, Jewell Jones captivated Summit Academy Akron Elementary School kindergarten to second-grade students with her African American history “story sharing” last Wednesday. She will return to Summit Academy on February 22 to read to the school’s third- to fifth-grade students. While Jones is a regular special guest at the school, her readings this month are part of Akron Elementary’s Black History Month celebration.
“Mrs. Jones’s stories are not only engaging but she always has a tactile and visual representation of what she is reading. This really draws our students in and engages them in the story,” explains Instructional Coach Lindsey Durbin.
Jones’s most recent readings are no exception. Sporting a pair of antlers, Jones tells the story about a dog and a rabbit who were best friends until the dog betrayed the rabbit. In an attempt to board a ship that admitted only horned animals as passengers, the dog put on a phony pair of antlers, leaving his rabbit friend behind, Jones narrates to a music room full of students.
“What kinds of animals have horns?” Jones asks her young audience. Several small hands pop up and children reply “deer,” “giraffe” and “goat” when called upon.
Jones touches on topics of famine, continents, including that of Africa, and even pumpkins, cutting one as she told an interactive story about a pumpkin last fall.
“The most magical thing for me was to see the students continuing to mimic this same pumpkin story well into the winter months and even after the new year,” Durbin says. “Her stories have really stuck with the students and we feel so happy to have her.”
Principal Dawn Presley echoes Durbin’s sentiments. “She’s very sweet and her demeanor is wonderful. The teachers and students have really enjoyed her coming in,” Presley says, adding that Jones makes visits at least once a month to read to the school’s students.
Jones is a retired Akron Public Schools elementary education teacher and a writer with a passion for poetry. Her authored books include “My Skin’s Just Right!,” “Chalk Stories of Extraordinary African Americans” and “African Americans Have Walked Here, Poems and Photographs of People and Places in Black History.” She delivers presentations of African American history through poetry, story sharing, chalk stories, slave portrayals and dramatic readings.