The Guys Read program is modeling literacy for fourth grade boys, and proving that reading can be cool.

Guys ReadNine year old Markus Worthen, a fourth grader at Qaddell Elementary School,  believes that reading is cool, and thinks that 67 year old Rob St. Clair proves the point.

“When he reads, I follow along with him sometimes, and it helps me read,” said Markus. “… When you’re reading right, you’re imagining what is happening and it’s fun.”

St. Clair is a retired probate lawyer and retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel.  He is one of 13 volunteers with the Guys Read program in the Chattahoochee Valley.  Along with six Chattachoochee Valley Libraries staff members, the volunteers are the “guy” who reads to fourth grade boys in 10 Muscogee County schools twice a week for five weeks.

The students who participate are not enthusiastic readers.  Often, they do not have positive male role models.  Their reading performance is below grade level, either because they struggle to read, or don’t read enough.

“Our kids are coming from such low socioeconomic and broken homes,” said fourth-grade reading teacher Christy Norris. “… So it’s really a big deal for them to see a man interested in reading and showing them how reading can benefit them.”

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