By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In conjunction with the National Education Association’s Read Across America project, North Laurel Middle School is looking to encourage their male students to read.
According to a national survey conducted by the Young Adult Library Services Association, the average 14-year-old boy listed reading as their top obstacle in education. Thirty-nine percent stated reading was boring and no fun, while 29 percent said they had no time or were too busy.
An issue that may be the cause for this age group, said Connie Hodge, EKU-Corbin campus instructor, is that there is a shortage of male reader role models. Using a EKU-Corbin Student Government grant, valued at $350, the school created posters and bookmarks, featuring some of their faculty and teachers, as a way to show reading is a fun and accepted activity for men too.
“Mr. William Allen, the librarian at North Laurel Middle, wanted to do something to target male readers, especially because research shows that once they get into middle school, male students just don’t read very much,” Hodge said.
NLMS staff posed for photos showing them reading a book in the library. Assistant Principal Frank Wilkerson is shown reading “Redwall” by Brian Jacques. One of this year’s London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce Teachers of the Year, Joey McKnight is seen reading “The Garbage Monster from Outer Space” by John R. Erickson, and Allen is shown lounging against a bookshelf reading “Left Behind” by Jerry B. Jenkins.
By having the teachers as role models showing, ‘Hey, I like to read,’ my hopes are simply that male students see that it’s cool to read,” Hodge said.
One student participated in the poster campaign.
The posters will be hung in the hallways of NLMS. In addition, 1,000 bookmarks will be available to students. The bookmarks will feature a list of books that may be of interest to ‘tween readers.