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Teacher leads by example, encourages students to read

By: Angela Fichera | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 1, 2011

 Michael Davey, a Riverside Academy English teacher, reads aloud as students Amanda Bollenbach, Dylan Guthrie, Thomas Conlen and Brandon Leet listen Feb. 25. Davey spends 20 minutes each morning reading aloud in front of the DiAnne M. Pellerin Center in hopes of inspiring his students to read more.

Michael Davey, a Riverside Academy English teacher, reads aloud as students Amanda Bollenbach, Dylan Guthrie, Thomas Conlen and Brandon Leet listen Feb. 25. Davey spends 20 minutes each morning reading aloud in front of the DiAnne M. Pellerin Center in hopes of inspiring his students to read more.

Photo by Angela Fichera

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Rain or shine, snow or sleet, he’s out there.

Whatever the weather, Michael Davey, an English teacher at L’Anse Creuse’s DiAnne M. Pellerin Center, stands just outside of the center’s front doors reading aloud.

Sometimes a group gathers, sometimes they just acknowledge him as they pass by, but either way students are taking notice.

Davey, who has been teaching at the center’s Riverside Academy for 20 years, began what he calls “The Guy Reading Project” back in December as a means to encourage students to open books and get reading.

The purpose of the lesson is to create readers by modeling reading, said Davey.

“If they see some nut reading outside, every day, under all circumstances, it might inspire them to read more themselves.”

Davey isn’t the only teacher utilizing different initiatives to improve students’ reading scores. The Pellerin Center is participating in Write to Learn, a program used to help to incorporate reading and writing into all classes.

“The topics in the program are cross-curricular, so students are doing reading and writing in math and science, even art. They’re getting the chance to understand how it all works together,” said Michelle Irwin, director of school and community relations for the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools district.

The results teachers at the Pellerin Center have seen in the students’ reading scores since the new initiatives began have been impressive, said Davey.

“They’re shocking us with the way their scores have improved.”

Although some of the students in Davey’s English class call him a little crazy, seeing him read aloud each morning has inspired many of them.

“He reads whatever he can get his hands on,” said Tom Conlen, 18, a student in Davey’s English class.

Brandon Leet, 19, of Harrison Township has seen a huge improvement in his reading test scores since the beginning of the school year.

“I’ve gone from test scores in the 1300s to the 1500s,” said Leet. “He is definitely inspiring us to read.”

Davey has also put together a display table in the center’s commons area to make copies of short reading selections, cards and sundry items of reading encouragement available to students.

And, as long as they continue to get students reading, Davey has no plans to cease his 20-minute morning reading sessions.

“Books folks, make them your allies, make them your friends,” said Davey as he headed in from his snowy reading session Feb. 25.

The DiAnne M. Pellerin Center houses students who attend Riverside Academy, which offers a non-traditional high school experience with a L’Anse Creuse High School diploma.

Registration and enrollment for new students in the Riverside Academy program will take place at 7 p.m. March 24 at the DiAnne M. Pellerin Center, 24001 Frederick Pankow Blvd. For further information, call (586) 783-6420.