UIC launches institute to help black boys

The Boys College Summer Literacy Institute, a new program created by the University of Illinois at Chicago, launches this summer to provide black boys with an academic foundation not typically offered in elementary school. Boys College gives black boys in grades 3 and 4 the reading and writing skills needed to prepare for and get admitted to top colleges and universities.

African American boy at a playground

The Boys College Summer Literacy Institute is giving black boys an academic foundation not typically offered in elementary schools.


Tuesday through Thursday, June 28 to July 14, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


UIC’s Education, Theatre, Music, and Social Work Building, 1040 W. Harrison St., Room L268.


Selected students will read and write about sociology, chemistry, mathematics, philosophy, humanities, law, engineering, biology, medicine and economics. The goal is to accelerate their intellectual development, with the aim of shaping a new model of literacy development for black boys in Chicago Public Schools and throughout Illinois.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 2 percent of black fourth-grade students scored at an advanced level in reading in 2015, compared to 9 percent of all fourth-grade students nationally.

Boys College creator Alfred Tatum, dean of the UIC College of Education, says that providing coursework in challenging subjects early on is critical to increasing the likelihood that black boys read at advanced levels; are college ready; and can consider a wider array of academic and professional paths.

The first session includes 20 boys. Boys College is taught and supervised by UIC faculty and doctoral students and is a partnership between UIC and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Media interested in attending should contact Jeffron Boynes at jboynes@uic.edu or (312) 413-8702.

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