Elementary school shows students reading is "cool"

News 12 This Morning/Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)--"What could we do to kind of amp up our interest in reading?" asked Wheeless Road Elementary school Principal Valerie McGahee.

It's the question she and her staff asked themselves earlier this year, because they believe--

"Kids will read if they are excited to read and they're reading things that they want to read," said McGahee.

So, the staff hit the hallways, asking students about their reading preferences--and their answers were eye opening.

"One of the kids actually said to us 'nobody reads anywhere but at school,'" she explained. "'We don't see that. I don't see anybody reading. I don't see any grown ups reading. It's just something you guys make kids do.'"

As a result, the "Real Men Do Read" initiative was born in November.

"We were able to have some of the community members come in--some prominent men,some of our political leaders, religious leaders, business owners--and they read to the kids."

Now, for the girls, the school is hosting "Beauty, Books and Brains," where women from the community are coming out to read to classes.

"Our whole idea is to let kids know that reading isn't just something that you do in school," said McGahee.

Volunteers can bring books from home--any they liked to read as a child. Or, they can also pick some based on grade level.

"We wanted to make sure that we were well rounded and that everybody who wanted to come in and read had that chance," she said. "And, it's just been wonderful."

McGahee tells me so far--the male students responded well to "Real Men Do Read"--and the female students can't wait for "Beauty, Books and Brains."

"Education is our business, but it's our whole society's responsibility," said McGahee. "And they are so excited and that's the big question--'who's coming? who's coming?'"

To answer that question--it could be you who comes out if you'd like to participate. The event is Thurs, Dec. 11 at 9 am. Just contact the school at before then at (706) 796-4985 to ask about getting involved.

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