Thursday, December 20, 2012

Little Readers, Big Texans

Houston Texans fever hit Woodview Elementary School on Tuesday as team free safety Glover Quin read aloud stories to third- and fourth-graders and encouraged them to focus on education and being successful in school.

The Texans, who are 11-1, have already secured a spot in the playoffs. On Monday night, they will be tested when the team travels to New England to face the Patriots. The Texans this year are 6-0 on the road. The Patriots, on the other hand, have now won 19 straight home games in December dating back to 2002, sports analysts report.  

“When I was real little, I dreamed of becoming a football player,” Quin told students. “My dad and my teachers and the people I looked up to all told me that as long as I worked hard and did well in school, I could be anything that I wanted to be.
“And so for me, that is what I did. I read and read and studied, and turns out they were right. I graduated from college and then got the opportunity to come and play football for the Houston Texans. I worked hard and my dream came true. But the success that I have is, in part, because of doing well in school,” he told about 180 students in the school gym.
Quin, No. 29 on the Houston Texans, read aloud from rhyming storybook, “Born to Read,” by Judy Sierra, during his special visit.
After reading aloud, he led students back through the storybook’s three key points:
·        Readers win and winners read.
·        Readers can do anything.
·        Readers can go anyplace.
Playing professional football, Quin told the students, is not a practical dream for most of them, despite his own success. Statistics show that playing in professional sports is a million-to-one gamble for most young people, he said.
“So the thing for you to do to increase your chances for success in life is to really try in school. Do well. Be nice to your teachers. If you do well here in school, then you will have a far better future,” he told the rapt audience.
Glover Quin’s visit to Woodview was sponsored by the Texans and the United Way of Greater Houston, which has a youth reading campaign titled “Readers Do Something About It!”
That campaign kicked off Nov. 3 at Reliant Center where 2,500 area residents joined forces to raise awareness about the importance of early reading and developing strong reading skills.
Woodview Elementary students also took part in a children’s book drive, which began early last month. The book drive’s collection goal is 10,000 or more books for distribution by local youth groups in the Houston region.
Reading by an early age is one of the best predictors for a child’s success in school, work and life. During the recent campaign kickoff, United Way of Greater Houston President and CEO Anna Babin said that the ratio of age-appropriate reading material is 13 books to each child in middle-income neighborhoods. By comparison, in low-income neighborhoods the ratio is one book for every 300 children, she said.
During his school visit, Quin was a cheerleader for books and reading. He told the Woodview students that one of the coolest things possible was to be smart, and reading books makes you cool and smart.
“Nobody can ever stop you from picking up a book and reading it,” he said. “Read everywhere. Read and you will even feel better!”
A native of McComb, Miss., Quin was a four-year letterman in football and basketball. He won the U.S. Army Scholar Athlete Award and later attended the University of New Mexico. He was drafted in 2009 as a defensive free safety by the Texans.
Helping make Quin’s visit possible at Woodview were reading intervention specialist Lourdes Perales and Albert Ceniceros, who attended Woodview Elementary and graduated from Spring Woods High in 2008. “Glover is one great guy, and you can see it in the smiles on the students’ faces,” the Spring Woods High grad said.
Woodview students were big fans, too.
“I can’t believe that I just met a real football player,” said Kenneth Perez, who like much of the young generation in Houston this season wants to be a pro football player. Quin’s key message got through to young Kenneth, however. “It made me feel real good inside that he likes to read and to read to kids like us,” he said.
“I loved that he loves to read books to us and I think that he really likes kids,” Destiny Gonzalez declared after Quin’s visit.
Principal Neda Scanlan and other school administrators had to meet the needs of several groups. As the special event closed, many Woodview staff members present stood in line for a chance to receive a Glover Quin autograph.
Quin patiently signed personal papers and other memorabilia. Maybe the young Houston Texans safety should have talked about the importance of reading and writing.


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