Dozens of male professionals are reading in busy classrooms

Real Men Read. // WSBT 22 Photo

There's a unique program in the Elkhart school system getting high marks for encouraging kids to read.

It’s called Real Men Read.

Dozens of men from all different professions volunteer to read in busy classrooms.

It's not their usual line of work but, like the kids, they get a lot out of it.

The reading program is under way at elementary schools in Elkhart and Goshen.

Men from many different professions read to a number of classrooms, including one at Mary Beck Elementary.

Each volunteer spends an hour of time once a week over the course of four weeks.

Real Men Read is sponsored by United Way.

Keith Sarber is one of the readers and is also is a vice president with United Way.

"Real Men Read is part of a reading initiative. Reading a series of books and provide a very supportive model, male model, for kids and illustrate or exemplify how important, a man's role in education is,” said Sarber.

Those who volunteer their time for the program say they get a lot out of it, on a number of different levels. They are doing something that they are not accustomed to doing, but it’s fun, none-the-less.

Kids get to interact with someone who is not their usual teacher in a learning situation.

“Unfortunately a lot of these kids don't have male role models in their lives and so that's why I think this program started, the whole Real Men Read. So it’s showing men in a compassionate role, in a different setting that maybe the kids aren't use to seeing,” said Craig Gibson of Premiere Arts.

Kids get to do a lot of things when readers visit them.

“We read books, we will sing songs, and we act like the character. It’s really fun to do that,” said second grader Aliyah Carr.

"I usually try to do something that gets them active and verbal too, so that it’s not just sitting and listening,” said Gibson.

There's also another reading program, involving women professionals called Spring into Reading. This program is held in the spring.

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