On Tuesday, March 2nd, the Los Angeles Rams teamed up with 96th Street Elementary, Century Park Elementary, and SideShow Books to virtually celebrate Read Across America Day.
Launched by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998, Read Across America Day was established to encourage children to read. The nationwide reading celebration takes place annually in March to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids and teens through books.
For this year's celebration, Rams Tight End Tyler Higbee, Punter Johnny Hekker, and Defensive Lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day hosted 30-minute virtual reading sessions for students (grades 1-5) from 96th Street Elementary in Watts and Century Park Elementary in Inglewood.
Each player identified a book of their own to read to the students. The selection of books included A Bargain from Frances by Russell Hoban, Frindle by Andrew Clements, and Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott. Following each session, Higbee, Hekker and Joseph-Day fielded questions from students during a Q&A portion and shared their favorite food and the most difficult opponents they've faced.
Principal of 96th Street Elementary, Dr. Christine Sanders, discussed the importance of the Rams' commitment to giving back through their participation in celebrations such as Read Across America Day.
"The Rams are an incredible organization that gives back. It's not every day that we have people come and see or talk to us," said Sanders. "We thank the Rams for taking the time and making the choice to come talk, read, and learn with us. It shows the commitment of the team to share this wonderful event with us today."
In addition to the reading sessions, the Rams supported a local bookstore, SideShow Books, by purchasing more than 800 books to replenish the libraries of 96th Street and Century Park Elementary. SideShow Books owner, Tony Jacobs, believes it's necessary for students to have access to new reading materials.
"Books can provide both mirrors and windows for young readers, helping them see and understand themselves and their experiences and also introducing them to worlds that they wouldn't otherwise know about or experience," said Jacobs. "For kids, holding books, scanning the pages, reading, and remembering the feelings they experience as they turn from one page to the next, these are dynamic cognitive experiences that literally shape brain circuitry in unique ways. There is no substitute for that. One of the missions of SideShow Books is to make books cool for kids, and the way we can do it is by turning kids on to an abundance of books of all shapes, sizes, themes and characters."
Jacobs also saw this partnership with two elementary schools and the Rams as a win for all parties involved.
"It's a total win-win-win, as the kids get great books, the schools get enriched, my bookstore SideShow gets some desperately-needed financial support, and the Rams return the love they get from the community," said Jacobs. "It feels good at all levels. Nothing feels better than sharing the love of reading books with kids."
For more information about the Rams community outreach efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.