Monday, May 16, 2005

Valley City State Football Adopts Reading Buddy Program

Author: Valley City State University Vikings Sports News
Valley City, ND -- The Viking Football team loves to listen to a good story, especially when the readers are the 1st graders from Jefferson Elementary school in Valley City. The football team has been listening to stories for the past four years.

VCSU football players volunteer to head to the 1st grade classrooms of Nancy Ost, Wanda Bjerke and Connie Schlittenhardt each week to listen to students read to them one on one. The 1st graders look forward to reading to their football buddies.

Gregg Horner, Assistant Head Coach has been organizes the 1st Grade Reading Program. ìI approached Wanda with the idea when my son was a student in her class. They were encouraging parents to come and listen and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for our student-athletes too. The teachers and kids have been great to us.î

The teachers understand the importance of the interaction. Wanda Bjerke explains ìthe students enjoy and look forward to the players coming and listening to them read. We have also had the players help students with some work that may be difficult for them. This is rewarding to both the students and players, as they can see how hard students have to work at learning.î

The players are equally excited about the opportunity to spend time with young people. Jeremy Payne, a junior linebacker from Bertha, MN says ìIt has been very interesting to see these young children grow as readers. I would not have expected to see such dramatic improvements on a week to week basis. It has been a rewarding experience.î Eric Spooner, sophomore defensive lineman from Tappen, ND comments "I have been fortunate enough to be able to go up and read with the kids for two years now and it has been great. I never know what to expect when I go visit them."