More than 180 male volunteers will fan out among Atlanta Public Schools’ 4,000 second-graders to help boost literacy through the R.E.A.L. Men Read program. Started in Chicago’s public school system and then to Houston, R.E.A.L. (“read, excel, achieve, lead”) Men Read hopes to solve two ongoing concerns: the lack of visible male role models who read, and the lack of books available in the homes of young students.
The volunteers will make monthly visits to the elementary schools over the next sixth months, introducing the students to books by reading to them, and then offering a seventh book for summer reading. The program enjoyed a kickoff event on Nov. 9 at The New Schools at Carver, with a reception featuring a version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” by Carver School of the Arts senior DeAngela Glaze. (Watch her entire performance here.) Motivational speaker Mike Howard served as MC, and the program featured appearances by SRT-3 Executive Director Michael Pitts, Atlanta City Council member Ceasar Mitchell, APS literacy director Monishae Mosley-O’Neill, a videotaped speech by Ambassador Andrew Young, and an appearance by Greg Worrell, president of Scholastic Classroom and Library Group.
Watch the video above, which includes highlights from the program along with an in-depth explanation of the program by Mosley-O’Neill.