University of Wisconsin student-athletes have long been involved with a number of community service efforts. One example is the Bookin it with Bucky program, a reading program sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District.
The primary goal is to help area students improve their reading skills by encouraging reading. The program provides opportunities for elementary students to interact with UW athletes who serve as powerful role models for diverse classrooms of students.
Young children are given the motivation by Badger Athletes to get excited about reading, aim to do well in athletics, as well as dream of someday becoming a college athlete. In return, Badger athletes are given a chance to remember what it was like to be a kid...to remember what it felt like to meet athletes that you looked up to, to dream big, all while gaining experience working with children. It was a great experience for me!"
-Boo Gillette, former Badger softball player
The project began in the fall of 2001-02 school year. During the past school year 26 fourth grade classrooms involving 700 students participated in the program. The eight-year total is over 300 classrooms involving more than 8,000 students.
This voluntary program was designed as a nine week initiative. Each participating classroom establishes a reading goal for the class. School staff modifies specific reading goals for individual students. The class goal must require students to exceed normal reading expectations for the quarter.
To enhance student motivation, UW Athletic Department staff members coordinate student-athlete visitations to classrooms. This year all classrooms had at least two visits by student athletes who read to and supported fourth graders as they worked toward their reading goals. During the 2008-2009 school year 26 student-athletes visited classrooms. The eight-year total is over 325 student athletes.
More specifically, benefits to each classroom include:
A group photo opportunity with Bucky in the classroom
Each student is awarded a Certificate of Achievement signed by Bucky
The opportunity for our students to interact with college athletes gives them a strong role model and a feeling of what they can accomplish if they stay in school and focus on their learning. I love having the Bookin it with Bucky program at my school!"
-Julie Frentz, Principal, Van Hise Elementary School
If you have any questions or would like to participate in the program, please feel free to contact one of the Athletic Department Bookin it with Bucky coordinators:
Jerry Dowden (608-265-6164)
Joe Thompson (608-262-7425)
Bridget Warren (608-890-2021)