Miami-Dade educators, male mentors host annual reading initiative program for kids

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami-Dade School Board, educators and male role models from all walks of life came together Tuesday morning to help show elementary students that reading can be cool.

The Real Men Read initiative program was intended to provide Pre-K-6th grade students, especially boys, the opportunity to meet male mentors who have a love of reading and learning.

“For the children to see males in the classroom, interacting with them in a very meaningful, structured and targeted way, I think it’s truly inspirational,” said Dr. Steve Gallon lll, of the Miami-Dade School Board.

Mentors were seen gathering inside Scott Lake Elementary School in Miami Gardens to show that reading can be cool and that having a male role model can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

“Education is not simply a functional responsibility of the mother or female teacher, but those male role models, male fathers and community leaders can also be a part of that process,” Gallon said.

The annual event is now in its fifth year, which marks the start of literacy week in Florida.

Many educators highlighted the importance of not only reading for class but also, reading for fun.

“It’s not just the books, it’s about the cross-section of men who are coming here,” said Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Oliver Gilbert. “You have elected officials and educators, entrepreneurs and preachers and police officers all coming to actually make sure they understand the importance of reading, but also understanding their importance.”

County commissioners and school board members were just some of the people reading to kids.

Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney was also in attendance to share his own personal experience.

“Having people from the community show up and actually read to them, it takes away the stigma of reading, because reading isn’t always cool,” said Forney. “What I try to tell students is that if I didn’t do it in these grades, then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

Educators hope that the message will stay with these students for life.

“The messaging is that, when you read, you can be free, and when you read, you read for life, not just for a test, but for life,” said Dr. Bridget McKinney, Principal of Scott Lake Elementary.

About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.