'Guy stuff' on the reading agenda for new dad, son club

    Pinball Clemons helps launch Calderstone Middle School reading program

    TORONTO, April 2 /CNW/ - When pre-teen boys hang out with their dads and
other guys, what they most want to do is - read. That's the hope behind a new
father and son reading club that Calderstone Middle School in Brampton will
launch on April 5, with the help of Michael "Pinball" Clemons.
    The program brings literacy and character education together, says
principal Patrika Daws. "Boys tend to score lower on literacy tests, and it's
harder to get them excited about reading. With this program, we're trying to
promote a love of reading," Daws says. "But it's also about giving them a
chance to spend time with a man who's important in their lives - that could be
their dad, but it could also be an uncle, older brother, grandfather, or one
of the male teachers who are volunteering to be part of the program."
    Positive role models are especially important to adolescent boys. That's
the reason the school invited Clemons to introduce the new father and son
program. As a surprise guest speaker for the 900-plus Calderstone students,
Clemons will talk about making positive decisions, as well as discussing the
importance of reading and sharing his own enjoyment of reading.
    When the program starts, fathers and sons will meet in the school library
on alternate Wednesday evenings. Boys have chosen all the reading materials
for the program. "We have an incredible assortment of graphic novels, sports
magazines and books, and nonfiction books like Guinness World Records - all
'guy-friendly' material that boys have expressed an overwhelming interest in,"
explains Harjit Aujla, teacher-librarian at Calderstone and organizer of the
    "The club will be structured to give fathers and sons a fun, informal
atmosphere that encourages them to share the enjoyment of reading. We want
them to talk while they're reading."
    Nadeem Yousuf is one of the first dads to sign up for the new program -
even before it's been launched. "I really want to be part of this program
because it will give me the opportunity to spend time with my son and at the
same time to be involved with his school."
    Yousuf's son, 13-year-old Muiz, agrees. "The reading program will be a
fun way to spend time with my dad and some of my friends. And I like to read
sports books, magazines and graphic novels."
    The father and son reading program is supported by research, including a
survey done by the Peel District School Board in 2004. The board asked
60,000 students in grades 4 to 10 about their attitudes towards reading. The
study found that more than 90 per cent of students want to choose their own
reading material, but boys and girls reported distinct differences in what
they prefer to read. The study also showed the need for families to continue
to support reading. Only half of students report that their families enjoy
reading. Less than 10 per cent of students in grade 4 to 10 are read to by
    "If we want boys to grow up to love reading, it's vital for them to see
that reading is something men do - and that they enjoy it," Aujla says.
    The launch of the father and son reading program will take place at
Calderstone Middle School at 12:30 p.m. on April 5. Calderstone is located at
160 Calderstone Rd., Brampton. The school opened in 2006 and serves more than
900 students in grades 6 to 8 in the community of Brampton.

    The Peel board serves more than 147,000 students in kindergarten to the
end of secondary school. Operating 226 schools in the municipalities of
Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, the Peel board is one of the largest
employers in Peel.

    Note to media: Nadeem Yousuf and Muiz Yousuf will be available for
interviews and photographs at the event. Other students in the program have
parent consent to be photographed, videotaped and interviewed by media.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Harjit Aujla, Teacher-Librarian,
Calderstone Middle School, (905) 595-1144, ext. 248; Reference: Sylvia Link,
Manager of Communications, (905) 890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2814,

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