PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Monday, April 7 marked the first day of Reading Week in the Providence public school system, and for the second straight year, the Brown University Athletic Department joined the local community in a nationwide initiative that seeks to educate young students on the importance of reading.
“Brown Athletics is thrilled to participate in Reading Week once again and give back to the Providence community,” said Jack Hayes, Brown’s Director of Athletics. “Brown student-athletes and coaches welcome the opportunity to act as role models to children and represent the university in this important educational initiative.”
During the course of the two-week extended event, over 50 Brown student-athletes and coaches volunteered their time at elementary schools across Providence. After reading a book to the children, the student-athletes then opened up the classroom to discussion with a popular question and answer session, generating conversation on everything from sports to favorite classes.
“The value of Reading Week is two-fold,” said Carolan Norris, an Associate Athletic Director at Brown and the coordinator of the event. “Both the Brown student-athletes and the elementary students benefit from being with each other to take part in reading a story and talking about life as a student-athlete and as an elementary student, adding a personal aspect to the day.”
Augustus Marker, a sophomore on the wrestling team, spent an afternoon at George J. West Elementary School, where he read to three kindergarten classrooms.
“My favorite part is always the questions at the end. We always open it up and let the kids ask us questions afterward,” said Marker, who believes the reading event also creates a special connection with the children. “I think it’s good that we show our face, not just on the mat or on the court or on the field. In uniform they can see us anytime, but for us to be more personal and face-to-face, this is important.”
In addition to George West, the group of student-athletes also visited Asa Messer Elementary School, Vartan Gregorian Elementary School and Paul Cuffee Elementary.
Junior Matt Lorito of the men’s hockey team read No Excuses, a book written by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Kristina Tracy, to a third grade classroom at George West.
“I am so glad I got the opportunity to participate in Reading Week. It’s always nice to walk into a room and see the kids excited to see you,” said Lorito, who was one of seven players on the men’s hockey team to visit George West. “I think it is important for us as student-athletes to try and give back to the community, even if it is something small like reading to kids. I hope the kids enjoyed the day as much as we did.”