Brandon Sharp, the president of the Lansdowne PTA, read a book about sharks to his son’s third-grade class Tuesday morning.
It’s part of Fayette County Public Schools’ new initiative to encourage men to read in elementary school classrooms across the community. The R.E.A.L. (Read. Excel. Achieve. Lead.) program developed by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, is a 7-month district-wide read-aloud mentoring program that will reach more than 7,600 Fayette students in grades K–5 across 29 schools this year.
Having dads, granddads and other male role models read to children shows them “that reading can be cool. There’s a lot to be gained from it,” Sharp said.
Sharp is also the coordinator of an existing male-involvement program at the school in which dads and other male mentors work with students and engage them in activities like board games.
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In the new program, readers are recruited to come in and read to students once a month. All the children in the class receive copies of the book to take home and add to their personal library.
Scholastic R.E.A.L. gives Fayette County Public Schools the tools to recruit mentors from the community, and to encourage and equip community mentors to inspire and build the literacy skills of students, said district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall.
Lansdowne started its reading program in September and already has more than 36 men involved, she said.