Monday, December 15, 2014

Reading with the Pros Promotes Literacy

Houston Texans guards Wade Smith and Brandon Brooks were among notables in the professional sports world who teamed up Nov. 18 at two elementary schools in Spring Branch ISD to promote reading and youth literacy goals.

Smith, offensive left guard with the Houston Texans, is also founder of the Wade Smith Foundation, which includes the literacy program Reading with the Pros, an effort to encourage sustained daily reading by students through special classroom visits and pep talks by professional athletes and other local celebrities.

In his studies, noted U.S. education psychologist Richard C. Anderson found that students who spent 20 minutes per day reading on their own were exposed to 1.8 million words during a typical year, and they scored highly on standardized tests.

At Shadow Oaks Elementary, Smith was joined in an assembly of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students by Houston Texans guard Brandon Brooks and track and field Olympic hurdler Meka Thompson. The athletes talked about the importance of reading and then spent time reading in classrooms to first- and second-graders. Shadow Oaks Elementary students have set a goal of reading 50,000 books by the end of this school year.

At Woodview Elementary, Smith was also joined by Brooks and Stephen Reed, a Houston Texans sportswriter. Since 2012, the Wade Smith Foundation’s Literacy Tour has held 25 reading events at schools or libraries in Houston and Dallas, the group’s organizers say. The appearances at the SBISD schools were coordinated by Amerigroup with collaboration from Communities in Schools.

For details on the Wade Smith Foundation, please visit:


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