Athens, Ga. – Several University of Georgia men’s basketball players and noted children’s author Charisse Richardson will read to youngsters at a Family Literacy Night to be held at Gaines Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Several members of the Clarke Central girls’ basketball team will also appear at the event, which is a partnership between the University of Georgia and Clarke County Schools, said Sharon Blackwell-Jones, a lecturer in counseling psychology at UGA’s College of Education. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.
In addition to the readings, Blackwell-Jones will make a presentation to parents that is focused on reading strategies for African-American children.
“This is just one of several events the school’s media center committee has planned to help improve students’ reading scores,” said Blackwell-Jones, a member of the panel. “This is also meant to be fun.”
Last spring, Blackwell-Jones invited Gaines Elementary literacy coaches to the annual Children’s Literature Conference hosted by the UGA College of Education, and the committee has recently applied for field trip grants for Gaines students to attend plays based on children’s books.
Richardson’s two books, The Real Slam Dunk, and the just-released, The Real Lucky Charm, celebrate the joy many kids feel in striving to become like their favorite sports stars but also helps them learn to dream of being things other than professional athletes.
Richardson stresses the importance of setting realistic goals and working hard to achieve them. It is a message that resonates with kids, parents, educators, and professional athletes. The National Basketball Association named Richardson to its “Read to Achieve All-Star Team.” In her motivational workshops she encourages young people to envision themselves as superstars in a range of possible careers. Her talks with parents offer guidance on how to help children score in the game of life.
Richardson, a native of Athens who now lives with her husband and son in Atlanta, knows about persistence and hard work. She is a graduate of Howard University and earned a M.B.A. from the University of Texas. She had settled into a successful career as a corporate communications manager when her lifelong interest in writing and a growing concern about the obsessive emphasis many young people place on sports, led her to write and self-publish The Real Slam Dunk. The book quickly sold 10,000 copies and earned her a publishing deal with Penguin USA.