Photos by Rome City Schools - Dr. John Hershey
For Dr. Clifton Nicholson, nothing is more important to his professional success than providing impactful educational opportunities to his students. Children at Anna K. Davie Elementary were treated to a surprise when Dr. Nicholson, Principal for Anna K. Davie, and his faculty arranged for a few good men to sit down and read to classrooms full of impressionable minds.
This event, called Real Men Read, focused on providing a positive example to students at Anna K. Davie Elementary. Dr. Nicholson explained the philosophy behind the project.
“The reason Real Men Read is so important to our kids is research-based. We can teach our students to read, but they also need to hear what good reading sounds like,” Dr. Nicholson explained. “It helps with their intonation and their fluency, so it is important for children to hear someone read to them. Today, we wanted to bring in community members because they are new faces to our kids and we hope to have them engage more with the new readers. We have athletes from Berry and Shorter, business people, college professors and even other Rome City Schools administrators and their families coming in today to read to our students.”
Of course, increasing literacy for the students at Anna K. Davie was the objective, but there were also other goals the faculty hoped to meet during Real Men Read.
“We have a wealth of connections our teachers and administrators have made over the years. Getting the men in to read was largely in part to their hard work and getting the word out to the people they know,” said Dr. Nicholson. “The contributions that our community makes to our children are immeasurable. By getting the word out, we are able to inform others about what we are doing. Our volunteer base continues to grow because of the great work of our teachers in letting others know what our needs are.”
Young men seeing adult men read also takes away the “nerd” factor associated with succeeding in class. Dr. Nicholson suggested that for boys, seeing men read was perhaps one of the most impactful things they can do as educators to encourage a high level of performance in the classroom. African American males who took part in Real Men Read did so with the goal of breaking a cycle of illiteracy in their communities.
Marcus Wade, parent to young man at Anna K. Davie, volunteered his time because of something he had heard long ago. Using these words as motivation, he vowed to be there for his son and all of the other students anytime the teachers should call.
“Someone once said to me that if you want to hide something from a black man, you hide it in a book,” said Wade. “That is why I always want to show my support for our schools. I believe that students seeing us in the classrooms and men providing a positive example are important. It is our responsibility to do our part.”