Guys Literacy Group helps kids read in Lorain

Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 17:53:21-04

Reading is eighth-grade Savion Noble’s favorite past time.

“If I’m not really doing nothing, I’ll just sit in my room and read,” Noble said.

That's why he jumped at the chance to be a part of the Guys Read Literacy Group.

"I like to get in types of activities like this because it goes on my record and doing this means that I’m a leader and I can do more in life in the future, so I can help kids out,” he said.

A group of eighth-graders from Lorain City Schools meets once a week at the library with third-grade boys to buddy up and teach them how to read.

“We want these books to appeal to them, to their interests, to their experiences,” said Julie Brown, Youth Services Librarian at the Lorain Public Library.

The goal of the program is to help reverse the statistics of this age group and gender.

"Boys typically drop off at the third grade level with their reading,” said Corinne Jalkanen, Library Associate at the Lorain Public Library. “By eighth grade there’s up to 50 percent of boys who are behind the girls.”

Brown added, “Part of the idea or part of the thought on this is that, perhaps books aren't as interesting to boys.”

What’s more alarming is the National Assessment of Educational Progress reports: only 14 percent of African-American and 18 percent of Hispanic boys read proficiently by fourth grade.

John Monteleone, principal at Washington Elementary School, where the mentoring program happens, said, ”Our subgroups are African American and our Latino subgroups....unfortunately there is that achievement gap between them and other subgroups that plays into them being a part of this program.”

With that being said, not only are the older boys asked to read books, but they also get special training to facilitate the discussions and activities.

“We want these books to appeal to them, to their interests, to their experiences,” said Brown. “So we try to pick activities that will reinforce the skills that they're building when they're doing their shared reading.”

And that's Savion’s favorite part.

“I look forward to reading with the kids, and just do activities…not only is their reading getting better, mine is too, my reading, my comprehending, everything.”

The Guys Read Literacy Program re-started this past February after taking a three year break. Today, was their last meeting of this school year, and next year, a new group will start.