Many thanks to Doug Johnson for blogging about a wonderful program created by Minnesota librarian Tori Jensen called Real Men Read. Both Education World and School Library Journal have featured terrific articles explaining why Jensen started the program (to help increase reading among boys) and how she went about building this program that has male figures in the school and community front and center as role models for reading.
The centerpiece of this program is the series of READ posters featuring teachers and administrators with their favorite book, magazine, or newspaper. Jensen also received money from a grant that funds the program to purchase books that would appeal to male readers.
Another feature of the program (and one of my favs) is a blog that features guest posts about favorite books/reading materials or reading experiences from the men who participate in the program.
In addition to the blog, they also keep a Shelfari program! Shelfari is similar to LibraryThing—you can “catalog” or tag and review your favorite books.
I found this program to be so inspiring that I plan to replicate it (with some of my own twists) at Creekview High School. Here are the ideas I have so far:
- I would like to go with a theme of Real Guys Read—this will include male adult figures in our school (administrators and teachers) as well as male students who love reading and are regulars in our library. Students will have the option of posing as a group or with their reader friends.
- Our featured “poster guys” can pose with a favorite book, magazine, or newspaper (can you think of anything else I may be omitting)?
- I will use our READ software to create the posters.
- I will create a Flickr gallery of our READ posters.
- I would like to have a blog with guest posts from those featured in our posters along with a LibraryThing account.
- I would like to create a YouTube Channel with short videos featuring our poster guys discussing their favorite reading materials or reading experiences.
- Guest speakers in which our students and poster guys can discuss favorite books or reading materials. This would be an open book discussion that could be held during lunch or before/after school hours.
I am also considering a companion program along the lines of “Smart Girls Read”—a program to celebrate our female readers as well.
I will be meeting with our principal in the next week to share these ideas before I formally recruit “poster guys” to participate. However, I already have three of Creekview’s most respected male teachers lined up for their photo shoot!
If you out there as readers have additional suggestions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your suggestions here!