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Zuri Reads Initiative: 5-year-old Detroit girl encourages reading

‘I like reading because it makes me smart and it makes my brain grow bigger’

DETROIT – We want to introduce you to a little girl named Zuri.

She has an incredibly bright future ahead of her as you’re about to read. And she wants to help educate your children. Little Zuri loves reading one of her favorite books to her mother Raven.

The 5-year-old got dressed up for the special occasion, wearing her finest pearls, headband and beautiful dress. Zuri clutches her baby doll as she reads out loud to other kids during what she calls Word Up Wednesdays.

“We’re just excited to continue to put content out there for parents to be able to engage with their children through literacy and reading in fun ways,” said Dr. Raven Jones Stanbrough, Zuri’s mother.

Dr. Jones Stanbrough and her husband, Darryl Stanbrough, are Zuri’s parents. They both believe in higher education, and their daughter loves to read.

“I like reading because it makes me smart and it makes my brain grow bigger,” said Zuri.

So together, the family created the Zuri Reads Initiative. Word Up Wednesdays is part of that program where Zuri reads and teaches other children her age online.

“Today we are going to be learning about matching. M-a-t-c-h-i-n-g. Matching is when we find two things that are alike,” Zuri explains.

The Zuri Reads Initiative has one overall goal.

“To get parents involved, promoting and understanding the benefits of reading, the benefits of spreading a message and just getting their kids to do a little bit more,” Dr. Jones Stanbrough explained.

“Ideally I think what we want to do is show that children can do it because children learn best from children,” said Darryl. “When other children see it, it’s just like watching a YouTube video with other children playing. They get addicted to it.”

Filmed right inside their Detroit home, when the lights and camera are on this quiet little girl comes alive, even teaching other languages.

The Zuri Reads Initiative started in 2017 but the Word Up Wednesdays program started on Sept. 30. For Dr. Stanbrough and her husband starting this program was important not just for their child, but others across metro Detroit.

“There’s a gap if you will in terms of literacy, resources and opportunities,” she explained.

And they’ve filled that gap. Zuri serves as a bridge between education and other children who look like her. Her parents had these words of encouragement for other parents raising school aged children during a pandemic.

“We are strong proponents of making sure that houses have culturally rich and diverse texts and we have that all around here and we provide that,” said Dr. Jones Stanbrough.

“You can do whatever you want as long as you’re learning,” said Darryl.

Zuri’s Word Up Wednesday continues every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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