Let me tell you a story, or better yet, let Arik Armstead tell it.
The San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman has teamed up with the Niners to do virtual read aloud visits in virtual classrooms.
“…[O]ne thing with that I want to do is promote reading,” Armstead said. “There’s been plenty of studies that you can predict a person’s success later in life based on the reading scores at an early age, around third grade…I know it’s a lot of pressure and responsibility on parents to start homeschooling…So I wanted to see how I could encourage kids to improve their reading skills and find reading fun and find reading engaging. And so I thought, if myself and other people who kids look up to promote reading…then that it would spark them to want to read more, want to work on their skills in reading.”
Last month, Armstead surprised second graders at Don Callejon Elementary School in Santa Clara with a virtual read aloud to support Earth Day, which served as a catalyst to start Storytime.
“I wanted to launch this program…but I want more people to be involved, other people of influence to use their platform to read and promote reading in youth, in staying engaged during this time…[N]ot having school consistently and having to do it from home, and a lot of idle time, a lot of students have became disengaged from school and reading in general. So I wanted to try to promote, engage students into reading more and working on their skills. So, that’s the thought process behind the program, and people can apply for me to read with your students and, hopefully it helps. That’s my intention.”
Beyond the virtual readings, Armstead has also made significant donations to the community. He and the Carolina Panthers’ Shaq Thompson, also from Sacramento, teamed up to donate more than 200 breakfast burritos from Sac City Brews to nurses from UC Davis Health. He also created #EAT91SIX to support local restaurants in the Sacramento area.
On behalf of the Armstead Academic Project, which Armstead start in 2019, the D-lineman donated $50,000 to Mercy Housing. The money is intended to provide students in Sacramento Chromebooks and pre-paid internet for one year while learning at home.
Teachers can nominate their classrooms for Storytime with Arik Armstead here.
*Video and Main Image Provided by 49ers.com