The numbers are in, and young male readers are at the short-end of the stick compared to young females in literacy skills.
According to a national survey conducted by the Young Adult Library Services Association, 39.3 percent of boys said reading is boring and no fun while 29.8 percent said they are too busy.
In an effort to combat these grim numbers, Roderick Tate founded The Reading Project, a quarterly program aimed to encourage young males, age 7 to 10, to develop their vocabulary and read books.
“I was in a book store one day and my horoscope told me to come up with something of my own,” said Tate, a software consultant and avid reader himself. “I volunteer with different programs and I know reading does help young boys. I’ve always encouraged people to read. It’s good to be able to talk about different topics as well as just reading for pleasure.”
Located at the West End Library, Tate’s first meeting with the boys was in late June. He chose Ron’s Big Mission, a biographical piece about a man who breached an unequal system to pursue dreams of becoming an astronaut.
Tate plans to further the boys’ reading interests through participation in question and answer as well as dialogue. He also introduced Give Me Five, where boys will receive a prize after every five books they read.
Tate hopes to partner with the Atlanta and Fulton school systems and the Boys & Girls Clubs to extend the program.
For more information about the program, visit www.thereadingproject.info.