March is National Reading Month and a young boy from Ypsilanti is sharing his fondness for reading with kids near and far. With the help of technology, this fifth grader is hitting the airwaves and delivering some great book titles in the process.
Ten-year-old Joziah Joseph is not your average kid. Spending his time reading his favorites, fantasy and mythology-based novels, Joziah wanted to inspire other children and let them know reading is cool. Through his podcast R.E.A.D Books with Joziah, he serves as the host and introduces new titles and also gives the book a personal review.
“In each episode of my podcast, I read a part of the book, explore some facts that the book inspired me to learn, share what I adored about the book and then discuss it with some friends and listeners,” says Joziah.
No stranger to podcasts, Joziah formally hosted a show alongside big brother, Joseph. When the brothers wanted to explore different interests, Joziah launched R.E.A.D, an acronym for “read, explore, adore and discuss.” With some encouragement and assistance, the podcast’s first episode debuted in late January 2021.
“A few years ago, my brother and I did a podcast together and then we stopped doing it. I wanted to start it again, but my brother didn’t want to do it. So, I had to think of a podcast that I could do on my own and my mom thought of the idea to do a reading podcast,” Joziah says.
A family effort, mom JaVon and dad Keith Joseph also assist in the process. While dad handles the editing, mom helps Joziah develop material for his show. They work together to produce the content, but ultimately, it is up to the young book aficionado what books will be covered. Listeners are welcome to call into the show and leave suggestions on the next covered titles.
“They can call in and leave a message on what they thought about the book and I’ll take suggestions if they want to leave one,” Joziah says.
In the short time since its debut, the podcast is gaining momentum with listeners not only in the states, but abroad as well. With listeners in the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Ireland and Australia, Joziah’s message and affinity for books is gaining support and is continuing to grow.
“He’s 10. I have to keep remining myself of that throughout this process,” says Keith.
Growing up a reader herself, Joziah may have earned his reading chops from mom. Expressing a love for reading at an early age, mom JaVon also explored writing fictional stories. Having a first-class seat to life through her son’s eyes, this mom has been able to witness him evolve and mature.
“We’re just really proud. It’s been exciting to see how this has developed and he’s grown so much from this. Just over the short period of time that the podcast has launched, I’ve been able to see his confidence soar,” says JaVon. “It’s an amazing feeling to watch your child really make a dream come true.”
Planting the seed that created the spark, dad Keith attributes Joziah’s natural curiosity for books to a local neighborhood program. The Read to The Barber Program, an initiative launched in Ypsilanti where kids had the opportunity to read to the barber and receive a $2 off a haircut, was a place where Joziah could read and see an immediate benefit.
“That really planted some really deep seeds in Joziah and helped him with his love of reading,” says Keith.
With varying interest, Joziah is undecided on what he wants to be as an adult. For his mom, Joziah’s love of reading and his natural curiosity can take him as far as his imagination will allow.
“I know whatever he wants to do in life he will be able to accomplish it. I see him continuing to inspire as he already has. Just inspiring many generations of people all over the world,” says JaVon.
With no official announcement on National Reading Month plans, fans and newcomers can expect Joziah to continue to discuss books and produce new content for the podcast. The podcast is available on Apple Music and IHeart.