If You Can Write You Can Read is the brainchild of 12-year-old Logan Mauldin and his mother, Angela Mauldin. “We started to help others by using certain curriculums and reading materials. I wrote a book so I was able to go out and speak to other kids, and they could be inspired to think, ‘If he can do it, I can do it too,’” says Logan.
Mauldin, a single parent, wanted to avoid having any problems with her son in school, particularly in reading. “Because of my work schedule, Logan had to be a little more mature,” she says. That meant she needed to trust him to do his work when she wasn’t home. Grading and monitoring his math homework after she came home was easy, but “how do you know if they read? So I challenged him to read at least 20 pages every night and then write a one-page essay.”
Logan did well with this schedule and eventually wanted to write his own book. But in putting the book together, they learned about the reading disparities across the country. In a 2010 NAEP reading assessment of children in kindergarten, black youngsters scored lower in reading than Asian or white youngsters, though they scored higher than Hispanic and Native American children. If You Can Write You Can Read was developed in response to Logan and his mother’s learning about these disparities. Logan and Mauldin wanted to make reading more appealing by encouraging other children, particularly boys, to write and read.
Communities in Schools
Partnering with Communities in Schools, a nationwide network of professionals working in public schools to surround students with a community of support, Logan and Mauldin developed a Write-A-Book contest that consists of about eight sessions. In the first session the participants—all 5th and 6th grade boys—were introduced to the program and to Logan, and they read and discussed his book. Boys were selected who were challenged with reading, or, as Mauldin describes them, “Boys who had the will but didn’t have a way.”
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