Verde Elementary encouraging adult mentors to head ‘Back to School’ Friday to read to students

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Terence Elliott, veteran professor at Diablo Valley College who grew up in Parchester Village, reads to students at North Richmond's Verde Elementary as part of the Real Men Read program.

At Verde Elementary School in North Richmond, students aren’t the only ones who’ve returned to school. As part of a relatively new literacy program, adult mentors in the community are also heading back into classrooms on a regular basis in order to read to the children.

On Wednesday, we received word from the Real Men/People Read literacy program that the first reading session of the school year is set to begin Friday. Community members who can spare the time are encouraged to head to Verde Elementary at 2000 Giaramita St. from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in order to read to students.

The program met monthly last year under the more specific name Real Men Read. We visited a session last school year and wrote about a positive experience. The idea was to inspire learning in children through positive male role models in the community.

The program was one of a number of literacy-boosting efforts at Verde that have greatly improved reading performance at Verde, program coordinator Marlena Brown said.

“The students are reading, and there is interest in picking up a book in their homes, at school, and in the community thanks to your volunteering as Reader,” Brown said.

Readers are asked to report to the main office at the school. Mr. Shaw of the Youth Service Bureau will be available to assist and direct any newcomers.