May 5, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin student-athletes know the importance of balancing exercise and fun with their academics.
In April, football players Andrew Endicott, Austin Hudson and Leon Jacobs and women’s swimmer Aja Van Hout visited Blessed Sacrament Elementary to read with students and enjoy time on the playground in conjunction with the school’s celebration of the Week of the Young Child.
Jacobs attended a literacy event for children and their families and read the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” to students with help from a fan favorite -- Bucky Badger.
The next day, Endicott, Hudson and Van Hout surprised the students at recess and spent time on the playground. The trio then read to students inside and stressed the importance of reading and doing well in school.
“I feel it is important that children learn to love reading as early as possible,” Van Hout said. “It really opens doors to their early academic success and can be a key to their future.”
The Week of the Young Child is an initiative of the National Association for the Education of Young Children that aims to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families. As literacy is a primary component of educational success, Blessed Sacrament hosted several events aimed at encouraging students to read.
Blessed Sacrament teacher Joe Thompson said it was useful to the students to show people from different walks of life demonstrating the value of literacy.
“By inviting community celebrities to come and read to the children, we show them that reading is important for many types of jobs and activities,” Thompson said.
Van Hout said she and her fellow student-athletes appreciate the opportunity to crack open a book whenever they can.
“As much as they think we channel all our physical energy into our athletics, we also value the importance of sitting down to read a good book,” she said.