Not only are Thorns FC players champions on the field, they strive to create and build champions within the community. The Rose City Readers program was implemented to do just that -- make third graders at the “I Have A Dream” Foundation Dreamer School Alder Elementary, champions in reading.
Thorns FC players will attend third grade classrooms on a monthly basis reading books to students focusing on the importance of physical education, health and other central topics.
On October 9, Rachel Buehler and Meleana Shim browsed the library at Alder Elementary looking for books to read to students. “I want to read them Polar Express!” Shim commented. After 15 minutes of searching, it was time to read to the first class. There was a buzz of whispers and smiles between the classrooms when Buehler and Shim were first spotted. When introduced as professional women soccer players, jaws dropped and questions sprung from their mouths. They ranged from who their favorite soccer player was to what their favorite food was. Sticking to the theme of eating healthy, Buehler answered vegetables while Shim answered with mangos.
In the first classroom, Buehler and Shim read “Surfer Chick” by Kristey Dempsey, which focused on the importance of a positive attitude, practice makes perfect and never giving up. For the second group of third graders, they read “Dear Mrs. Lurue: Letters From Detention School” by Mark Teague, which centered on looking at all points of view in every situation. During the last session, students had the chance to read to Buehler and Shim in a one-on-one environment.
Focusing on reading proficiency in the third grade is a critical step toward increasing the number of students who succeed academically and ultimately in life. During the third grade, students are transitioning from learning to read, using basic knowledge of the alphabet, to reading to learn. The Rose City Readers program inspires youth in the classroom by harnessing the power of sport and mentorship to magnify the importance of reading. The Thorns FC players have a unique ability to motivate students to improve their reading skills and increase their passion for education.
Shyvonne Williams, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation Alder Program Manager, was excited about the program. “We are so pleased ‘Stand Together’ thought of Alder. It went amazing today and we cannot wait to have the players back next month!”