Kansas Athletics, KU Libraries team up to promote literacy

March 6, 2008

Lawrence, Kan. –

More than 75 <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas student-athletes volunteered to read to local children for Read Across America Monday, March 3. Read Across America is a nationwide event that promotes reading in celebration of famed children’s book author Dr. Seuss’s birthday. More than 2,100 local students at 12 elementary schools listened to the student-athletes read a Dr. Seuss book, and were given the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the student-athlete as well as Kansas Athletics.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

“To see their faces light up while we’re reading helps us realize the positive role we, as Jayhawk student-athletes, can play in their lives,” said Jamie Boyd, a senior on the women’s basketball team. “We love meeting the kids and we’re excited about the READ program.”

Mike Rivera, a junior on the football team, said the READ program is “a tremendous opportunity to share with young people the importance of reading and education. We get as much if not more enjoyment out of the visits as the little kids do.”

The event coincides with the launching of The University of Kansas READ campaign. KU Libraries and Kansas Athletics are teaming up to promote literacy on campus and throughout the Lawrence community. “Our student-athletes really embrace the opportunity they have to make a positive impact in the community,” said KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins. “We look forward to the READ program growing, along with all of our other community outreach programs.”

READ posters have been distributed to all Lawrence elementary schools and are given to students during the READ visits.

“Reading is a critical part of lifelong learning, whether in elementary school, high school, college or beyond,” said Lorraine J. Haricombe, dean of KU Libraries. “The READ program provides an interactive, exciting and educational opportunity for both elementary school students and KU student-athletes.”

Leslie Campbell, Library Media Specialist at Prairie Park Elementary, is thrilled with the READ program and plans to schedule future visits by Jayhawk student-athletes. “Our students look up to the Jayhawks and were so wide-eyed when they walked in,” Campbell said. “So when they stressed the importance of reading, how fun it can be, and then read to them, the kids were so into the story and into the questions. The visits really can open up doors to our students and help them realize that reading can be cool.”

Anyone interested in a READ visit to a Lawrence area elementary school can contact Mike Harrity, KU Director of Student-Athlete Development, at mharrity@ku.edu.