Friday, March 27, 2009

Athletes Show Strengths as Reading Mentors

Fresno's Central High School has a new class of athletes trained as reading mentors. Teacher Librarian Janet Melikian has trained 15 high school athletes to read to groups of Central Unified School District elementary students, and lead discussions about healthy diets and exercising. [See photo by Eric Paul Zamora from Fresno Bee.] Members of the football team, led by Grizzlies quarterback D.J. Tate and offensive lineman Joe Cisneros are "coached" by Teacher Librarian Janet Melikian, who:
  • Helps the high school students polish their reading-aloud skills
  • Advises them on how to steer discussions with the younger kids to nutrition and fitness.
  • Selects sports- and fitness-related picture books appropriate for 1st-3rd grade and purchased with funds donated by the athletic department.
Two of America's top issues are related to increasing literacy and healthy kids. Janet's initiative tackles both by empowering high school athletes to be role models for younger students. This is another example of an "Athletes as Readers and Leaders" program, but the first I've seen that adds a healthy eating component. Young students are left with the message to "keep our grades up and stay healthy." Kudos to athletes and coaches of Central High!

Library as a solution: literacy, youth leadership, healthy kids (youth obesity)

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