Real Men Read program hopes to inspire Lake City youth

LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – During the first Friday in March of each year men of all ages in Lake City unite to help build students’ self-esteem in the classroom.

To encourage reluctant readers, especially boys, Jerry State, a behavioral interventionist at Main Street Elementary launched real men read six years ago at Main Street Elementary.


The reading program in Florence School District Three began with 14 guest readers.

Fathers along with community leaders, law enforcement officials, and seniors from Lake City High School read books to students at Main Street Elementary School each year.

State said since the event was created the number of books checked out from the library has tripled.

He says the support from volunteers over the past six years shows there is an interest in students by men who live in Lake City.

“You know, they’ll ask can I come in and do this for this class or do you have any after school programs that I could come to, I’m always available let me know how I can change my schedule in order to make sure that I can come to the school and do something, so as a result of this a lot of them will just come and volunteer their time,” State said.

Last year, more than 70 men from Lake City participated in the program and touched the lives of more than 300 students.

Lake City Mayor Lovith Anderson supported the program since it began.

The mayor says projects like this encourage students to do better.  He says being able to read and comprehend is the first step toward improvements.

“In this area you need to see men come into the school buildings, children need to see the men in there and they all have a father or father figure in case they don’t have one living at home and then to let them see that it is ok to read, it is cool to read, reading is really essential in our lives,” explained Mayor Anderson.

Nearly 80 volunteers signed up to read to students at Main Street Elementary Friday morning.