KU Student-Athletes Read To Preschool Students This Week

Nov. 20, 2008


University of Kansas student-athletes volunteered Wednesday to celebrate Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week. The group included 11 student-athletes from five different teams reading to the students at Hilltop Child Development Center on the KU campus.

Those participating in the celebration included former cross country and track and field All-American Paul Hefferon, Hannah McMacken, Erin Mertz, Meg Proehl and Danielle Herrmann from the swimming and diving team, Abbi Huderle, Brittany Belford and Jessica Sadler from the rowing team, Alyssa Rainbolt from the women’s golf team, and Brad Thorson and Mike Rivera from the football team.

This week is the fourth annual Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week, which is a statewide initiative by the State of Kansas Library. The mission is to join together in reading to as many preschool students as possible. Kansas has nearly 200,000 children under the age of five, and their future achievement depends on their literacy. Research has shown that reading to a child for 30 minutes per day from infancy helps prepare a child to learn.

“Reading to those youngsters today was so rewarding and such a great experience,” Rivera said. “I would encourage others who have 30 minutes of their day to give to these children to do so. Not only do they get so much out of it, but so do you.”

Pat Pisani, Hilltop Preschool Executive Director, would welcome back the student-athletes in the future.

“I was very pleased to see how interested and excited the student-athletes seemed to be about being here reading to the kids,” Pisani said. “The entire group was enthusiastic and it made their time with the children really fun for the kids. All the teachers involved said `let’s do this again’.”

The event coincides with The University of Kansas READ campaign. KU Libraries and Kansas Athletics are teaming up to promote literacy on campus and throughout the Lawrence community. READ posters have been distributed to all Lawrence elementary schools and are given to students during the READ visits.

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