Mychal Wynn is an author and educational consultant specializing in college planning, increasing student achievement, closing the achievement gap, literacy instruction, parenting, and increasing black male achievement.
Mychal Wynn
Inspiration, Motivation, Strategy
Book Clubs
Book Clubs
What We Believe
We believe that increasing literacy requires high levels of student engagement, beginning with high expectations. Book Clubs are designed to engage all students (lower income, first generation, undocumented, alternative schools, juvenile court schools, etc.) in intellectually engaging conversations around ' enabling texts .' The foundational texts for beginning book clubs are " The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens ," and " Following Your Dreams: Lessons That I Learned in School ."
 
The three videos presented on this page provide insight into how book clubs can provide an effective research-responsive approach to increasing literacy for boys, particularly boys of color. The first video provides insight from University of Illinois professor, Alfred Tatum, PhD.,  into engaging boys in reading and the importance of expanding access to 'enabling texts.'
 
The second video provides an example of a common phenomenon in which boys, and students of color, experience negative peer pressure regarding academic success and literacy as part of an oppositional identity and anti-intellectual peer culture. experienced by many students, particularly boys of color.
 
The third video, in stark contrast to the second video, shows young men of color embracing literacy and actively pursuing intellectualism, as a viable pathway to expanding postsecondary opportunities—a research-responsive response. 
 
It is important to note that book clubs are equally effective for engaging teachers and support staff in conversations about teaching, learning, and school improvement. Teachers at South Topsail Elementary School in Hampstead, NC engaged in a book club discussion surrounding, " Increasing Student Achievement: A Guide to School Improvement Planning ," over the course of several weeks.
University of Illinois professo, Alfred Tatum, PhD., discusses the importance of 'enabling texts,' as a means of engaging, frequently unengaged readers.
Anthony Turner is quoted as saying, "Recently I was 'caught'reading at McDonald’s by a group of kids at my school. I say 'caught' because many of my peers consider reading to be a lame activity. ( Read Anthony's story... )
What We Do
Through demonstration lessons and guiding book clubs, we demonstrate how to engage students in intellectual discussions, while inspiring students to set goals for increasing their levels of literacy. Book clubs are, or have successfully operated, in the Iron Sharpening Iron mentoring program at Turner Chapel AME Church (Marietta, GA), in the Black Male Learners Program in Tacoma Public Schools, in the Black Male Advisory in the Guilford County Schools (NC), and at Tapp Middle School in Cobb County Schools (GA)
Students in the Tacoma Public Schools Book Club provide an example of the power of book clubs, when effectively operated, to develop a high level of intellectualism and student engagement.
Download 150 good books for boys
Our book club has been a huge success. It has provided an amazing context for the conversations between mentors and mentees. ‘The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens’ was such an important and inspiring read to kick off for our book club students that one of our young men wrote a book report on the book and received a ‘100!’ The book is having such a positive impact on some of our young men. Some of our young men who don't normally speak, are becoming more verbal and engaging due to reading the book and beginning to understand what they're reading by identifying with the eagles. It appears that everyone was participating in the session. The book has been a catalyst for creating good dialogue between mentors the mentees.
   
— McIvery Johnson, Ministry Leader, Iron Sharpens Iron, Turner Chapel AME Church (Marietta, GA)
Although I thought that I was being forced into joining the book club because of having so many suspensions and in-school detentions, I was glad that I was allowed to participate in book club. It was great! We read several books, had really good discussions, and no one misbehaved. It was as though we weren't really at school. I mean, it was fun and we were learning at the same time.
— Ty, 8th Grade Student, Tapp Middle School Book Club
Mr. Wynn has been instrumental in kicking off our 'Black Male Learners Book Club.' His books, 'Follow Your Dreams: Lessons That I Learned in School' and 'The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens' are not only been instrumental in cultivating an attitude of black male intellectualism, but they have inspired our young me to become leaders in their schools and positive contributors to their communities. Not only does Mr. Wynn's journey allow him to connect with our youth, his insight into their attitudes toward school, challenges they face in school, and hopes and aspirations for the future, make him uniquely gifted in fostering relationships, inspiring learning, and moving youth to becoming proactive in closing achievement gaps.
— Patrick Johnson, Director of Academic Excellence and Equity, Tacoma Public Schools (Tacoma, WA)
The one day of the month that I would never miss school was the day that Mr. and Mrs. Wynn came to our school for book club. It was the one day that I had a voice. No one thought that I was a bad student and I had a chance to talk about what I thought, I how felt, and what I wanted to do in the future. Book Club should be required for all students in all schools. I just wish that my teachers knew how to get students to participate in class the way that Mr. and Mrs. Wynn get students to participate in book club.
Essence B., 8th Grade Student, Tapp Middle School
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