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Reading Role Models

PRHS athletes travel to elementary schools in the district, reading out to them, in the newly re-released program: Athletes Read
Reading+Role+Models
Interview with Athletes Salgado and Lewis

Once Upon a Time: Four words can change the perception of a young reader’s mind. Stories are portals to help give the youth a way to broaden how or what they read. In the state of California, about 40% of current third graders are reading at or above the state/country/national level. With the remaining 60% in question, PRHS athletics decided to team up with the six elementary schools in the area: Kermit King, Bauer Speck, Winifred Pifer, Virginia Peterson, Pat Butler, and Georgia Brown.

Tori Loney, k-8 AD

The Athletics Read program was reinstated this school year, 2023, to expose future Bearcats to athletics and reading. Tori Loney, Athletic Director for K-8, was the voice behind bringing the program back.

“We can try and grasp all students and improve the equity gap but also reinforce the importance of academics and athletics,” Loney said.

Tristan Salgado, 12

The Varsity Football team and Varsity Cheer team were chosen to go to the first location, Glen Speck Elementary School, on Nov. 8, 2023, attending two third-grade classrooms.

“The kids lit up, and seeing that it made me realize that sports can be so influential,” Senior Wide Receiver Tristan Salgado said, “making me want to be a better person because I know kids are looking up to me.”

Being a member of the Bearkittens pathway Salgado enjoyed inspiring the children.  Salgado was referred to the program by fellow athlete and Bearkitten teacher Bianca Rangel, who also attended the Glen Speck reading.

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The super fun part was interacting with the kids throughout the stories and getting their insight about what was going on.

— Rangel said

Brooke Lewis, Senior Varsity Cheerleader and Bearkitten teacher, has participated in four of the programs so far and has seen the effect that the program is already having.

Brooke Lewis, 12

“The entire time my kids [the third graders] were super engaged, wanted to tell me all their little stories” Lewis said, with a smile in both her eyes and on her face.

The students go down to the PRHS library before they depart from their first-period class on Wednesdays, picking from a selection of children’s books with all of them having a key message. Lewis read “Henry and the Bully”, a book about soccer and coming together with others while Salgado read “What Do You Do With An Idea?”, a story that inspires the growth of an idea, and Rangel read “The Book With No Pictures”.

Varsity Cheerleader and JV girls soccer player, Taylor Gignoux wanted the opportunity to make memories with the children and to spend more time with younger children in general.

Taylor Gignoux, 10

 

“I’ve translated [my own] message to the children by making sure they understand the importance of getting good grades and still play sports they enjoy.” Gignoux, a sophomore, said about the Athletes Read program.

 Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Erin Haley, is working with the program for the betterment of the district both now and in the future. California has the lowest literacy rate in the United States, at 76.9%, as well as the third-grade reading ability ranging from 40% to 58% action is needed for school districts.

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We want to build a district and school community in which every child feels connected to school – whatever that may be. This is one program which allows us to do outreach to our elementary students and build that connectivity.

— Haley said.

Currently, there are 14 dates planned to go into the 2024 school year, with the schools offering the reading specifically to the third-grade classes to help increase literacy rates across the district.

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About the Contributor
Kayla Degnan
Kayla Degnan, Sports Co-Director

Senior Kayla Degnan is in her third year of Crimson, being Sports Co-director. She hopes to grow her knowledge in sports while also giving athletes the appreciation that they have earned. Outside of Crimson she enjoys reading, writing, watching dance moms, and learning ASL. She is varsity cheer captain this year and participates in the varsity stunt team. She cannot wait for her final year of Crimson. Go Bearcats!

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