Columbia, SC – Leaphart Elementary School welcomed men from around the community to the fourth annual Real Men Read event. Over 100 men were invited to read aloud to students across all grade levels. Men arrived brandishing their favorite books and ready to deliver a lasting impression. The entire school participated as each class enjoyed hearing an entertaining tale.
“Real Men Read is a showcase to our students on the value of literacy,” said Principal Kelly Brown. “This is a time where people from our very own community come to Leaphart and serve our students by taking time to read with them. What a supportive message it sends to our entire student body when the whole school stops to read with individuals who value literacy.”
Students sat in small circles around their guests as they eagerly listened to stories read aloud. Each classroom had at least one guest, and some had multiple visitors reading to smaller groups of students. The men encouraged students to become avid readers as they recounted the importance of literacy in their own lives. A variety of careers were represented with men working in the fields of education, health services, public safety and many others.
Guest reader Dozier Guffey said, “As far as me being an adult, students can see that you have to go to school, you have to learn in order to be successful in life. And this is the beginning, learning how to read, learning how to understand things by reading. It’s a fundamental thing as far as being a child and growing to adulthood.”
Fifth grade students were visited by someone with a special appreciation for reading, an author. Langston Moore, co-author of the book #JustaChicken and University of South Carolina and NFL football star, read his book to students. He also discussed how important reading is to achieving goals.
“Since we wrote a book, we always like to get out there and promote the idea that you can do a lot of different things in life. You can go out and play football, you can do a lot more things if you’re an avid reader, whatever it is you want to do,” explained Moore. “We always encourage kids, especially a lot of boys, that it’s cool to read. You don’t have to be reading poetry… but find books you like to read, about sports, about cars, about business.”
It was clear by the smiling faces that the students really enjoyed this experience. They were able to connect the importance of reading with having a successful career. “Positive role models are so important for students,” said Brown. “Thanks to all our real men who came to share their appreciation of reading with Leaphart students and inspire them to discover their own love of reading. It was a great day!”