Promoting the love of reading in its young students, Loyalsock Valley Elementary School recently held a program in partnership with the Montoursville Area High School varsity football team.
Jo Ellen Shearer, reading specialist and Title 1 reading teacher at Loyalsock Valley, explained that each year the school looks to recognize its young readers who reach goals during its summer reading program. The school does this through a reading pep rally.
But this year, the school brought back a piece of it that hasn't been done in the past few years.
Montoursville High School's varsity football players spent an afternoon reading to students at Loyalsock Valley Elementary School. Shown are some of the players reading to and interacting with the students. At left, Griffin Dunne answers questions in Mrs. Holmes's fourth grade class before reading them a book.
"This year we invited the football players to come before hand and they read to whatever class they were assigned to promote reading and be a positive role model for reading," Shearer said.
Players not only read to classrooms but also spoke to them about the importance of reading.
Shearer said having the football players talk about reading to the younger students was important because they look up to them.
"I think our kids already have the utmost respect for them already because they're older," she said. "They're a role model and the kids already think of them a positive role model."
And while the football players may be more well-known to the students because of their Friday night highlights, Shearer said this shows another side of them to elementary students.
"Not only are they showing their skills out on the football field but they're also showing their skills as readers.
"I don't think kids realize (the high school football players) go to school too and they have to know how to read, as well," Shearer later added.
Shearer explained that the tradition of bringing the football players was stopped about four years ago due to transportation problems.
But the team was brought back to the rally when a parent suggested it. The school's parent-teacher organization supplied transportation for the team to join the elementary school's event.
Shearer said since reading is a "life-long skill" it's important that students learn to enjoy reading from an early age. Having role models to show young children the importance of reading is needed.
"It is a life-long activity. We want them to be life-long readers, so to start at a young age is critical. I also think its critical for them to see their peers, parents, teachers and any other adult reading, as well," she said.