Engineers, college professor, and even a cowboy share love of reading with elementary students

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Reading aloud to students is widely recognized as the single most important activity for developing literacy. And if that reader also can serve as a positive male role model, even better.

This past fall, Anderson Elementary Dual Language School launched M.A.L.E. (Men and Literacy Evolving), an initiative in which male members of the community come to the school to read to students on the last Monday of each month. Anderson Principal Roslyn Stiles Vaughn envisioned the program after a member of her church expressed his desire to make a difference by reading to students.

“We applaud the commitment of our male mentors to help our future leaders fall in love with reading,” said Vaughn. “The students look forward to their visits every month.”

In response to the literacy crisis in Houston, HISD initiated Literacy By 3, a movement to have every child reading and writing with fluency by the end of grade three. HISD is also participating in Read Houston Read, a pilot program started by the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation in which volunteers commit to reading with first-graders for an hour a week.

When people in the community read with students, it demonstrates how important it is for them to develop reading skills that will help them in school, college, and beyond. Men who have read to Anderson students include a chemical engineer, electrical engineer, motivational speaker, real estate agent, university professor, and athletic coach, as well as a real cowboy. The M.A.L.E. program is similar to Real Men Read, another community mentoring program in which men read with students once a month.

The next Anderson reading session is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.