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NCAA partners with local universities and schools on literacy program

Program hopes to bolster reading proficiency among students

NCAA Team Works, the community engagement branch of the NCAA, has partnered with Indianapolis colleges and universities for a new literacy program with elementary schools.

Readers Become Leaders targets third-grade students and provides them with incentives to increase their reading proficiency. The program will also provide students with activities that will encourage them to maintain grade-appropriate reading levels. “The NCAA is taking this opportunity to help youth focus more on the importance of reading and how it can positively impact their educational future,” said Victor Hill, associate director of NCAA Team Works community programs. “We want these third-graders to learn in an impactful and fun way. We hope the interaction with NCAA student-athletes, who are on a path to graduation, will also be a positive motivating experience for the youth.”

The NCAA will start the Readers Become Leaders program with Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, the University of Indianapolis and local school districts. The colleges and universities will work with the elementary schools to host various events, such as literacy drives, book distributions and special recognitions at collegiate sporting events for the students who reach their reading goals.

Readers Become Leaders provides support to teachers who are dealing with a literacy crisis that affects children of all demographics. Educational data has shown that if reading is below grade level by the fourth grade, students are four times more likely to drop out of school than their proficient peers. Readers Become Leaders also hopes to bridge communities and encourage young people to explore their talents, which increases their potential to one day attend college and excel.

Team Works has successfully addressed literacy in the past, working with school systems the last four years on reading programs. More than 100,000 students nationwide have been positively impacted. In addition to the Readers Become Leaders Indianapolis initiative, NCAA Team Works will also partner with member schools in other championship cities.