National Education Association President Joins Nationwide Effort to Boost Literacy of Black Teens

Article excerpt

Washington, D.C. -- National Education Association President Bob Chase has joined the national advisory board of Books for Boys, a new initiative to improve reading skills among young African Americans. The pilot program targets black males ages 12-18, whom studies show often lag behind their peers in reading and academic achievement.

"The ability to read is the most critical skill, fundamental to children's continued learning and achievement," said Chase. "I am proud to serve on a board committed to improving that skill for black students. Reading is the foundation upon which all learning is built. Books for Boys will encourage and celebrate reading for this important student population, which will help them throughout their lives."

The Books for Boys "Reading Gets You There" program will select nearly 300 youths from organizations including the Omega Boys Club of San Francisco, the Al Wooten Center of Los Angeles, and other agencies across the country serving black youth. Students will be asked to read a specified number of books from a reading list and will receive prizes ranging from book bags to computers for their accomplishments. Special events include a reading rally at the Newseum in Arlington, Virginia, later this month.

The new program is one of several literacy efforts NEA has undertaken to improve reading for minority youth. …