Guys Read

According to the U.S. Department of Education, girls in all age groups perform much higher than boys on reading tests.  Some volunteers in Gadsden are hoping to change that…  By eighth grade, boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.  Two thirds of high school special education students are boys.  And the Department of Justice says that there is a direct link between violence and crime and the lack of ability to read well. The numbers show that many young boys start to lose interest in reading in about the 4th grade, so the Gadsden Public Library has recruited local men to help with a program called "Guys Read".  Under the program, local men who share a life-long love of reading are spending the month of February visiting 4th grade boys in Gadsden elementary schools in an effort to share their love of reading and let the boys know that *cool* guys love to read. The "Guys Read" program was started in Alaska and is quickly spreading around the country.  In Gadsden, dozens of *cool* men have volunteered to spend two mornings a week with the boys simply interacting with them and discussing their favorite books.  We don’t read the books to them, because 4th grade boys are too *cool* for that.  We talk to them about the book, show a brief powerpoint and encourage the boys to read the book for themselves. So far, both the men and the boys involved are giving the program high marks and I think we are going to convince these boys that reading really is the *cool* thing to do.

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