Here is Deb Hanson’s outline of her club and how it works:
What is the Guys Read Club: A club just for our middle school guys – with guys (our male teachers and other staff members) as mentors and leaders.
Why Guys Read?
To give our middle school boys who are reluctant to read a chance to read, talk, learn about and do stuff guys are interested in – without worrying about grades! To give them a chance to interact with other guys (young and old), have a little fun, and be themselves. To give them some choices about what they read, learn, and talk about.
What are the Rules for the Boys:
- Show up.
- Participate in a positive way.
- Share ideas that help make the club successful for everyone.
What are the Rewards for the Boys?
- Free food and some “guy” time
- Learn about stuff you like and maybe, just maybe, learn to like reading
- Rewards for positive participation (the boys help choose those rewards)
How it started:
Male staff members were recruited as mentors by the media specialist through personal contact and emails. An initial planning meeting was held to discuss the purpose of the program and to brainstorm ideas for how to set it up, when & where to meet, and how to select the boys for the first club. The initial design was to set up a club in which:
- Each middle school Reading teacher nominated 4 boys (for a total of 28) who these met two criteria: 1) most reluctant readers, and 2) most influential leaders in their classes.
- The boys would be personally invited by the media specialist (and encouraged by their reading and homeroom teachers) to attend an organizational meeting to see what it was all about and to provide input about how the club should work. The adult mentors wanted the boys to have some input into how the club was run and what topics would be discussed.
How it Works:
- The eight adult male mentors from our school staff meet with the media specialist once a month to plan activities and topics for the club meetings, using input from the boys.
- The men decide who will lead the group each week and who will assist, what resources they need for the students, and what medium they will use to complete the activities (print, online, etc.).
- The media specialist and the men collaborate to gather the resources needed each week.
- The club meets once a week (Thursdays) before classes begin (7:25 – 8:00 AM) in the school’s upper grades media center. This allows the male mentors to attend all the meetings while not interfering with their own teaching duties.
- Food is served at each meeting to both attract the boys to the club and to allow them to eat breakfast in case they miss breakfast in the school café. They may also go get breakfast from the café and bring it to the meeting. The media specialist and reading coach provide food and drinks for each meeting (we are using personal funds, since we do not have school funds for this program).
What they are Reading:
Since the boys’ #1 interest turned out to be sports and it happened to be football season, the mentors elected to begin the club sessions focused on football. The first meeting focused on the BCS College Championship game (U Florida vs. OK Sooners). The men had the boys divide into teams based on positions (quarterbacks, running backs, defense, etc.) and each had to decide which team would win based on supporting stats from a short article from the FOX BCS website that described the different strengths of the teams’ players. At that same meeting they filled out the NFL brackets for the playoffs, making predictions of winning teams based solely on their opinions. The next meeting, they re-did their brackets to reflect the final four teams and then used articles from NFL.com and ESPN.com to predict which teams would win the division playoffs the following weekend. They were asked to come up with two supporting facts for their predictions based on the website articles.
This week, the men are doing an NFL Trivia game, in which the boys will compete for points using a football game set up on the interactive white board. They’ll need to use the information from the articles they read the previous two weeks and form Sports Illustrated magazines to answer the questions.
We have requested subscriptions to ESPN’s RISE magazine to use later in the year to talk about high school sports (especially with our 8th grade boys). Our first issues won’t arrive till late February I’m told by the ESPN folks.
As we get into other topics later this spring I’m sure the resources we use will expand and change.