RIT Athletes, Coaches and Wallace Center Staff Promote Love for Literacy to School Kids

Volunteers to spend time with elementary students at Rochester City School No. 5

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Kari Horowicz

Sharon Dennis, co-captain of the RIT’s women’s basketball team, reads to a student at School No. 5 at RIT’s first “Giant Read” in March.

RIT Tigers will “roar for reading” at John Williams School No. 5 this Friday.

More than 55 student athletes, coaches, administrators and RIT Wallace Center staff members will promote literacy and success in school at the “Giant Read.” RIT volunteers will be at School No. 5 at 555 North Plymouth Ave. from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6.

Volunteers will read the book Amazing Tigers to all the first graders in the school’s gymnasium and then play games. A grant from the Harold Hacker Fund for the Advancement of Libraries will fund more than 70 copies of the book to be given to each first grader with additional copies donated to the school. Following the “Giant Read” in the gymnasium, volunteers will fan out and read in the individual kindergarten and second-grade classrooms. RIT’s mascot, Ritchie, will also be in attendance for the festivities.

This is the second year RIT has participated in this event. RIT developed this idea to partner library staff and student athletes to conduct an ongoing reading program for elementary school children. The Wallace Center encompasses RIT Libraries and Teaching and Learning Services.

The “Giant Read” is a one-day event but is part of a year-long commitment that RIT makes to John Williams School No. 5, which includes weekly visits to volunteer in the classroom, holiday gift giving, spring cleaning and sixth graders visiting the RIT campus.

Kevin Rattigan, a member of the RIT men’s lacrosse team and a third-year international studies major, volunteers at School No. 5 once a week working with students who are lagging behind in their course material.

“This is the second year I’ve spent at School No. 5,” says Rattigan. “I really look forward to volunteering each week. The kids’ faces light up when they ask me questions about sports and college. I know I’m helping them discover that reading and doing homework is cool and college is achievable for them someday. It’s a great feeling and a way for me to give back to the community.”

Rattigan, along with 18 members of the men’s lacrosse team will participate in Friday’s event.