Reading to Achieve: The Warriors Take Rocketship!

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by Nikki David
Associate Editor ➟ BEYOND

A love for reading can take you on adventures to distant lands or help you ace your next literacy test, but some days, reading can also help you score a 2015 Stephen Curry NBA All-Star Game jersey. At least, that’s what several lucky Rocketeers found out at the Golden State Warriors Read to Achieve event on February 19th.

Teacher Will Ramirez, who helped organize the event, hands out Read to Achieve t-shirts.

Rocketship students, parents and community members flocked to the Mosaic Elementary blacktop after school, in anticipation of a reading rally sponsored by the #1 ranked hometown heroes. Shooting guard Justin Holiday, Warriors hype man Franco Finn, the Warriors dancers and even Corduroy the bear dropped by San Jose to show students an afternoon of reading fun.

Music played as attendees filed in, and even principal Danny Etcheverry, Office Manager Veronica Verdin, and Corduroy couldn’t help but dance. Etcheverry and Verdin led students in a dance to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” which students had practiced during their daily launch assembly before school.

Etcheverry and Verdin lead students in a dance to Katy Perry's "Roar".

Etcheverry, Corduroy, and Verdin lead students in a dance to Katy Perry’s “Roar”.

Finn welcomed everyone to the event before introducing special guest Holiday, who arrived in true pre-game fashion, running in and giving high fives to students left and right. As he expressed how excited he was to be there, Holiday also shared why he loves reading and what role it had played in his life.

“Reading is so important,” said Holiday. “If you can read, nothing can stop you. I couldn’t play basketball if I couldn’t read.”

He explained how reading helps him understand plays, and is crucial both in his regular life and in basketball. His love for reading, he said, stemmed from reading books about Michael Jordan and Captain Underpants as a kid. Finn and Holiday then led the students through two classic books, Corduroy and The Rainbow Fish. During each book, they took turns inviting students up to read key passages to the audience. These students were hand-picked by teachers for their superstar reading abilities, and were cheered on by their parents and peers.

A superstar reader joins Holiday during the Corduroy reading.

A superstar reader joins Holiday during the Corduroy reading.

The end of each book wasn’t truly the end, though. To test the students’ reading comprehension, the Warriors dancers picked students from a sea of raised hands to answer questions about the story they had read. The students who remembered what was missing from Corduroy’s overalls or what made the Rainbow Fish truly happy won prizes like Warriors hats, photos autographed by Holiday, and even Stephen Curry All-Star jerseys.

Even the students who weren’t picked for a question walked away with some great giveaways. At the end of the event, the Warriors dancers and staff handed out free books and Warriors pencil pouches filled with school supplies.

Rocketeers answer reading comprehension questions to win Warriors gear and autographed photos.

Rocketeers answer reading comprehension questions to win Warriors gear and autographed photos.

More importantly, students walked away with a renewed excitement for reading and learning. New books in hand and the Read to Achieve pledge fresh in their minds, each student left the event after promising to read every day, listen in school, and be the best they can be.

Now in its 17th season, the NBA’s year-round Read to Achieve initiative aims to help youth develop a life-long love for reading. To find out more about Warriors read to achieve events, contact ReadtoAchieve@warriors.com.

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A member of the Rocketship Network Support Team, Nikki came to Rocketship to help close stark inequalities in education and build the innovative schools of the future. Mentoring and tutoring throughout South Los Angeles showed her the transformational power of learning, and she is inspired every day by Rocketeers’ bright spirits and boundless potential. She earned her B.A. in Communication and Communication Design from the University of Southern California. Her other passions include community service, D.I.Y. projects, getting lost in new places, and trying challenging new workouts.

Follow Nikki on Twitter: @plaincrash

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