Hundreds volunteer to read to students

February 11, 2009 2:24:34 PM PST
Hundred of Houston men have stepped up to the plate and answered HISD's call to join Houston Real Men Read, a mentoring initiative for elementary- and middle-school students chaired by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis and spearheaded by HISD Board of Education Trustee Paula Harris.Since the January 26 kick-off event at the central Houston Public Library, 202 men have applied to be part of the program, and 130 have already been cleared with background checks.

On Thursday, February 12, the 130 men will read to second-, fifth-, and seventh-grade students at all the elementary and middle schools in Harris's district.

Volunteers are asked to commit to reading and discussing a book with a classroom of second-, fifth-, or seventh-grade students for one hour per month in February, March, and May of this year. This commitment has the potential to change a life by reinforcing three fundamental principles: 1) reading is fun; 2) the community cares; and 3) a commitment to education can ensure success.

Blackshear Elementary School (2900 Holman, 77004) will have volunteers reading to students from 8:15 a.m. ? 9:15 a.m. and Thompson Middle School's (6121 Tierwester, 77021) volunteers will read from 9 ? 10 a.m. Trustee Harris will be at Wilson Montessori (2100 Yupon, 77006) from 9 ? 10 a.m. and Attucks Middle School (4330 Bellfort, 77051) from 10:30 ? 11:30 a.m.

Participating schools include: Red Elementary, Shearn Elementary, TSU Charter Lab, WALIPP 6-8, Contemporary Learning Center Middle School, Pro-Vision School, Alcott Elementary, Bastian Elementary, Frost Elementary, Grimes Elementary, Kelso Elementary, Mading Elementary, Young Elementary, Attucks Middle School, Thomas Middle School, South District Alternative 2-5, Blackshear Elementary, Foster Elementary, Hartsfield Elementary, J. Will Jones Elementary, Lockhart Elementary, MacArthur Elementary, MacGregor Elementary, Thompson Elementary, Peck Elementary, Turner Elementary, Whidby Elementary, Wilson Montessori, Cullen Middle School, Lanier Middle School, and Ryan Middle School.

The district is partnering with Scholastic Books and other corporate sponsors to underwrite the program, which will ensure that each student receives a copy of the monthly book to start a home library.

The program will offer students a chance to see men from all walks of life in a positive way in the district's schools.

"The response to Houston Real Men Read has been tremendous," said Harris. "It is so exciting to see our community heed President Obama's call for volunteerism and community service. Houston Real Men Read is a wonderful and much needed program that can positively influence students and the educational system. HISD is appreciative of the time and commitment these men are making to ensure our children understand the importance of reading. We look forward to growing the program district-wide."

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