A Spooky Read Visit

Oct. 30, 2009


There were Halloween costumes falling out of backpacks and treats ready to be eaten, but that did not stop five student-athletes from grabbing Teresa Hupfauf’s first grade classes attention at Wakarusa Valley Elementary School, on Friday October 30.

Alyssa and Brittany Potter twins from the swimming and diving team, rower Erin Sargent, soccer player Sierra Miramontez and pole vaulter Jaci Perryman all took time out of their jam packed schedules to read spooky Halloween stories to Hupfauf’s class.

“We organized our schedules through the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to come read to the kids, and I am really lucky that I had time to come,” Sargent said. I am glade I came to read because I had a lot of fun with them.”

The minute these student-athletes started introducing themselves, the first graders were in a zone. They were excited to have new people in their classroom, especially student-athletes from KU.

“First graders need to see roles model,” Hupfauf said. “Every time the student-athletes come they just jump in with kids and make a great impression. “

The visit was part of the READ with the Jayhawks program. Jayhawk student-athletes and KU Libraries have teamed up with the local Lawrence community to promote literacy. This program puts student-athletes into local schools and libraries to read throughout the year.

This program also offers READ posters featuring student-athletes, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Bonnie Henrickson, Head Men’s Basketball coach Bill Self, Head Football coach Mark Mangino, and Big and Baby Jay.

The first graders were enthralled with stories about creepy spiders, big orange pumpkins and Halloween cats.

“My favorite part about reading is going to the library and picking out scary books,” Grant Hough, first grader, said. “I like the parts in the book that are scary.”

The student-athletes helped the first graders sound out words, and showed them that reading is fun.

“I love reading to the little kids and they are so cute,” Perryman said. “I admire there enthusiasm about reading. I am glad I could come out and assistant them with their reading.”

These student-athletes are huge role models in these young students’ lives and they are someone new besides their teacher or parent that is teaching them that reading is important.

“You don’t always see the impact of the student- athletes right away,” Hupfauf said. “Three days later, one week later and a month later they are still talking about how the student-athletes came into the classroom. “

“I really like being able to read to kids and make an impact on their lives because you know later on they are going to remember KU athletes coming to read to them in their first grade class,” Miramontez said.

Later, the first graders paraded around the school in their Halloween costumes, but the student-athletes that came and read to them made their Halloween extra special.

“It is always a lot of fun to come read with the kids, and it reminds me of my younger days,” Brittany Potter said. “It is so importance to influence kids and you may not realize how big of a role model you can be to these kids just by reading to them.”

For more information, please contact Mike Harrity, Assistant Athletics Director at mharrity@ku.edu