The Dallas Mavericks are continuing their tradition of encouraging North Texas students to read more.
The 2021 Mavs Reading Challenge is in full swing. The 40-day program is an effort to encourage the love of reading for kids of all ages.
“Literacy is so important,” said Katie Edwards, Senior Vice President of External Affairs. “They say that literacy levels by the third grade have such an impact. [Those reading skills] go with them for the rest of their lives. We just want to make reading fun. You can log your minutes and win prizes from Whataburger and the Mavs. The whole point is to read and to love reading, not just because you have to. We want it to become because they want to.”
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The Mavs are getting help this year from one of their stars, Dwight Powell, to engage kids in reading through virtual storytime opportunities.
“I hope it was exciting for them. First and foremost, for me, I remember when I was that age and people coming to read with us,” Powell said. “At times, I struggled through reading and now I enjoy reading. I know for me, some of those role models reading to me got me excited about reading."
In February, he read to students in the Dallas ISD for African-American Read-In Day as part of the Mavs Reading Challenge. In a video that was shown Friday for African-American Read-In Day, the Mavs center and power forward read "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut" to Dallas ISD students who were tuned in on Zoom.
Powell said he will be hosting another virtual storytime on the Mavericks Instagram page and this one will be extra special to him.
“We’re going to be reading a book by a friend of mine from back home. He has a ranch up in Canada and a bunch of kids up there, so he decided to write a book for them. It’s going to be really exciting to connect the kids with that,” Powell said.
Powell’s friend Avi Glina came up with the concept for the book called "Strum and the Wild Turkeys." It’s written by Noa Daniel and illustrated by Alana McCarthy.
“I just want kids to give [reading] a chance. Obviously, you are going to like what you like, but just give it a chance. I read every single day. I try to find the time to carve out a piece of day to learn something new, enjoy and explore. For kids, that is so important. Learning is a lifelong process and the more you can start at a young age,” Powell said.
In 2018, the program’s readers logged more than 2.8 million minutes of reading, something the Mavs hope will continue for years to come.
“The Dallas Mavericks have always believed that we are bigger than basketball and it's so important,” Edwards said.
NBC 5 is committed to Reading With You with our childhood literacy program. We have interactive activities, a book list and free virtual worksheets to help students with their reading skills.