Former Houston Texan on mission to get more students to read

HOUSTON – A Kindle for every classroom and a special Super Bowl Reading with the Pros visit are two of the prizes up for grabs between six Houston elementary schools. The competition, titled Read all the Wade, is being put on by the Wade Smith Foundation.  The rules are simple, whichever school can collectively read the most books by Jan. 27 wins.

As you might imagine the foundation was created by Wade Smith, a former Texan and 2012 Pro-Bowler.

“I started this foundation, I started Reading with the Pros, and I started these, this literacy initiative so that I could reach out to kids and let them know that if you struggle with reading, it’s OK that you struggle with reading. It's OK to be that way but it’s not OK to stay that way.  There’s somebody there that can help you,” Smith said.

He’s making stops at each of the six schools this week to help encourage the students.  With him he’s bringing thousands of books donated by Half Price Books.  Though only one school will win Smith has a goal for each individual classroom – read twice as many books as his height in inches which equates to 152 books read per classroom.

“Oh we’re going to win we already decided we’re going to more than double the goal so we are going to win,” John F. Kennedy Elementary School Principal Diana Lum said.  “Not all my kids have home libraries and my goal is to put a book into all of their hands.”

“While they’re competing with each other their brains are expanding, they’re opening their minds in so many different horizons,” Smith said.

The six schools involved with the competition are:

  • Kennedy Elementary
  • James Berry Elementary
  • Kashmere Gardens Elementary
  • Blackshear Elementary
  • Montgomery Elementary
  • Almeda Elementary