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If he can’t READ, he can’t LEAD…

According to a study released by the Council of the Great City Schools, by fourth grade only 12 percent of black male students read at or above grade level, while 38 percent of white males do. By eighth grade it falls to just 9 percent for black males, 33 percent for whites. Black male students are almost twice as likely as white males to drop out of school. And in some big American cities the dropout rate is around 50 percent.

Let’s not spend another second pontificating about the reading problem of African American boys. If a boy cannot read, it means that someone has not taught him to read. Solution let’s teach him to read.

Below are a list of books that are appropriate for African American boys ages 2 through 4 years old, and there are plenty others out there. These books can be found at bookstores, libraries, and Amazon. GET STARTED, Read to a boy today, tonight, in the morning and everyday hereafter.

•Just the Two of US, Will Smith

•Whose Knees Are These, Jabari Asim

•Whose Toes Are Those, Jabari Asim

•He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Kadir Nelson

•Peekaboo Morning, Rachel Isadora

•You Can Do It, Tony Dungy

•Marvelous Me, Lisa Bullard

•Peter’s Chair, Ezra Jack Keats

•The Bat Boy and His Violin, Gavin Curtis

•Brothers of the Knight, Debbie Allen

•The Hired Hand, Robert D. San Souci

•How Many Stars Are in the Sky, Lenny Hort

•In the Time of Drums, Kim L. Siegelson

•Jackson Jones and Puddle of Thorns, Mary Quattlebaum

•Juma and the Honey Guide, Robin Bernard

•My Rows and Piles of Coins, Tololwa M. Mollel

•Richard Wright and the Library Card, William Miller

•Sam and The Tigers, Julius Lester

•Sundiata: Lion King of Mali, David Wisniewski

At this age it is on mommies and daddies, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, godparents, big sisters and brothers to help introduce reading to our young boys. The only way to improve the reading skills of African American boys is to introduce them to books, reading to them and make books a primary part of their worlds. Further age-appropriate books for African American boys will be listed on the Cleveland UMADAOP website.

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