What We Believe

University of Illinois professo, Alfred Tatum, PhD., discusses the importance of 'enabling texts,' as a means of engaging, frequently unengaged readers.
We believe that increasing literacy requires high levels of student engagement, beginning with high expectations. Book Clubs are designed to engage all students (lower income, first generation, undocumented, alternative schools, juvenile court schools, etc.) in intellectually engaging conversations around ‘enabling texts.‘ The foundational texts for beginning book clubs are “The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens,” and “Following Your Dreams: Lessons That I Learned in School.

The three videos presented on this page provide insight into how book clubs can provide an effective research-responsive approach to increasing literacy for boys, particularly boys of color. The first video provides insight from University of Illinois professor, Alfred Tatum, PhD., into engaging boys in reading and the importance of expanding access to ‘enabling texts.’

Anthony Turner is quoted as saying, “Recently I was 'caught'reading at McDonald’s by a group of kids at my school. I say 'caught' because many of my peers consider reading to be a lame activity.
The second video provides an example of a common phenomenon in which boys, and students of color, experience negative peer pressure regarding academic success and literacy as part of an oppositional identity and anti-intellectual peer culture. experienced by many students, particularly boys of color.

Students in the Tacoma Public Schools Book Club provide an example of the power of book clubs, when effectively operated, to develop a high level of intellectualism and student engagement.
The third video, in stark contrast to the second video, shows young men of color embracing literacy and actively pursuing intellectualism, as a viable pathway to expanding postsecondary opportunities—a research-responsive response.

It is important to note that book clubs are equally effective for engaging teachers and support staff in conversations about teaching, learning, and school improvement. Teachers at South Topsail Elementary School in Hampstead, NC engaged in a book club discussion surrounding, “Increasing Student Achievement: A Guide to School Improvement Planning,” over the course of several weeks.

What We Do

Through demonstration lessons and guiding book clubs, we demonstrate how to engage students in intellectual discussions, while inspiring students to set goals for increasing their levels of literacy. Book clubs are, or have successfully operated, in the Iron Sharpening Iron mentoring program at Turner Chapel AME Church (Marietta, GA), in the Black Male Learners Program in Tacoma Public Schools, in the Black Male Advisory in the Guilford County Schools (NC), and at Tapp Middle School in Cobb County Schools (GA)

Download 150 Good Books for Boys