Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Escondido Public Library

Guys Read, and Like it, in Middle School Literacy Program
NCTimes: January 31, 2010 by Gary Wrath


Boys will be boys, but that doesn't mean they can't appreciate a good read.

At two middle schools in Escondido, boys are taking one lunch break a week to read and discuss books, stories, graphic novels and even song lyrics with one another and two adult volunteers.

"I joined it because I was interested in the articles they had to read," said Del Dios eighth-grader Jose Agundez. "It's pretty chill. All my friends are here."

His eighth-grade friend, Ezequiel Ramirez, said he didn't like reading before joining the group. "This makes it fun," he said. "They make you understand the stories."

The two students were among nine boys sitting in a semicircle in a Del Dios shop class with adults Luis Hernandez and Michael Zepada, volunteers in the literacy program Guys Read, held each Thursday at Del Dios and each Friday at Mission Park middle schools.

"Guys like doing things together," Hernandez said. "If it's a sport, or reading, we tell each other about it."

But while boys may like reading in elementary school, they feel uncomfortable doing something so solitary around other students once in middle school, Hernandez said.

"They don't want to be the person in the lunch room or in the library, alone with a book," Hernandez said. "But it can be done in a team, just like anything else guys engage in."

Hernandez and Zepada were AmeriCorps volunteers working with the Escondido Library's Literacy Services when program coordinator Josephine Jones asked them to create a reading program targeted at young males.

Hernandez and Zepada also hold a Saturday session once a month called a Mash Up, where boys are asked to bring their fathers to the library to participate in discussions.

Jones, the program coordinator, said she would like to expand the program beyond the two schools, but needs more volunteers. Anyone interested in helping the program can call Jones at 760-839-4219 or write her at jjones@ci.escondido.ca.us. READ MORE !


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