‘Real Men Read’

“The more you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

For me, the undisputed highlight of Catholic Education Week 2011 was reading to grade 4, 5 and 6 students at Our Lady of Fatima school in Cambridge, Ontario.

I was invited to participate in the Real Men Read initiative by my friend and colleague Rolland Chidiac, who teaches at OLOF school. Rolland and I are also involved in an iPod touch pilot in an effort to engage his students in learning, especially those students who struggle with reading and writing. His blog post, Apples Aren’t Just For Teachers, appeared in March of 2010 on this blog.

Rolland and a growing number of teachers in Ontario and around the world are leveraging new technologies (e.g. mobile devices, internet resources like Bitstripsforschools) and initiatives such as ‘Real Men Read’ to promote language literacy. They are inspiring their students to read everything from Aesop’s Fables to Zorro and inviting people from their local communities to share their love of reading with the next generation.

“At West Hill Collegiate Institute, a visiting author discussing modern African history struck a chord with one young man, who was inspired to read Shake Hands with the Devil by General Roméo Dallaire. It was the first book he had ever read just because he wanted to. His teachers observed that this young man’s sense of personal achievement was immense.”

Me Read? And How!
Ontario teachers report on how to improve boys’ literacy

Here are just a couple of favorite take-away moments from my visit to OLOF school – the intense looks etched on the faces (as I read) of some students who, it appeared, really were being swept along in the current of imagination conjured by chapter one of George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm (one of my favorite books).

I was also amazed by the sincere and enthusiastic appreciation displayed by some students immediately following my recitation. A number of the students in one class I visited thought I had brought the animals (characters) on the pages to life. One delightful girl actually asked for my autograph! Soon others were also asking, but, mercifully, the classroom teacher came to my rescue by encouraging the student involved to share the autograph with her classmates. Whew!

Seriously though, what an honor and privilege to help model for students what will, hopefully for them, become a life-long love of reading and therefore, learning. So that one day . . . they too can experience the magic, wonder and delight on the faces and in the eyes and hearts of their own children and grandchildren.

If you can read this, thank a teacher!

Photo Credit: Teddy Bear’s Reading Group 05 – Jonno259’s photostream

Related Links:

Apples Aren’t Just For Teachers

Me Read? And How! Ontario teachers report on how to improve boys’ literacy

8 Benefits of Reading (or Ways Reading Makes You Better at Life)

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