DURHAM, N.C. Ė The Duke Athletic Department began the 15th year of its Read With The Blue Devils program with a pair of visits to local elementary schools last week from Duke student-athletes.
In 2005-06, a total of 24 Durham elementary schools received in excess of 50 visits from Duke student-athletes from all 26 varsity sports. Last week, four student-athletes made visits to Holt Elementary and Triangle Day and read to a combined 100 kids from those two schools.
Duke’s trip to Holt Elementary was with Gerald Henderson and Marty Pocius, both men’s basketball players, while the Triangle Day visit was also made by a pair of men’s basketball players, Josh McRoberts and Lance Thomas.
The Read With The Blue Devils program is intended to aid area teachers by providing reading incentives for third and fourth graders in Durham. By reading for 15 minutes for 12 nights, a youngster is able to reach various levels and earn Blue Devil gifts along the way. Among the prizes given out are autographed team photos, posters, t-shirts and chances to meet Duke student-athletes at various functions.
The goals of the program have remained the same since its inception:
- Encourage young kids to read at an early age.
- Reach at-risk youngsters to provide positive reinforcement and enhance their chance for success.
- Show children that reading can be fun.
- Provide incentives to get children to learn goal-setting skills, attain levels of achievement and improve reading skills and habits.
- Reach teachers and parents to provide support to kids by encouraging reading.