NASCAR driver kicks off GQ Elementary Drive to Read
By Sarah Campbell
GRANITE QUARRY — NASCAR Camping World Series driver Dusty Davis recently made at pit stop at Granite Quarry Elementary to kick off the school’s Driven to Read campaign.
Davis, the national spokesman for the incentive-based program, told students that reading is an essential part of every career, including his.
“Growing up, my mom would always talk about how important reading was and I was like ‘C’mon Mom, I’m going to be a race car driver, I don’t need to read,’” he said. “But I learned quickly that reading is very important.”
He told the students his required reading includes things like his contract with Vision Aviation Racing and NASCAR’s 320-page rulebook.
“Whatever you guys dream of being, you need to practice reading and be sufficient at it,” Davis said.
Principal Vicki Booker said she’s excited to begin the program at Granite Quarry.
“We are really, really pushing reading,” she said. “We want kids to read and we want them to understand what they’re reading.”
Booker said the reading initiative goes hand-in-hand with Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom’s district-wide literacy push.
“Dr. Grissom has challenged us to better prepare our students with literacy skills, so what better way to do that than by reading,” Booker said.
Booker said the students prepared for Davis’ visit by checking out racing books from the library and creating a song “Reading, Reading, Reading,” to the tune of Justin Bieber’s “Baby.”
“They’ve been reading like crazy, they were very excited,” she said.
Davis said the goal of Driven to Read is simple — inspire children to read.
“When I was in school I didn’t really like reading. My speciality was math and science,” he said. “So I didn’t really read that much and that’s why the program is really close to my heart because when I became a professional race car driver I learned that reading is really important.”
Davis said now he regularly reads about six racing magazines and at least one book each month.
“It has become a big part of my life,” he said.
Davis said he’d like to see the program grow, but the funding isn’t available right now. Those interested in donating can visit driventoread.org.
The students will be awarded one mile for every 15 minutes they read. Parents will have to sign off on students’ reading logs each night.
Booker has challenged the students to work together to get to 150,000 miles by reading at least 30 minutes every night.
“We’re hoping this will have long-lasting effects because reading is the cornerstone to everything you do,” Booker said.
Fifth-grader Noah Larson said he already reads every chance he gets, including on the way home from football practice and to fill the time when he’s bored.
He’s hoping the program will inspire other students to share his love of reading.
“I think it’s going to be a really good way to get people wanting to read,” Noah said.
Students can earn prizes ranging from bookmarks to trophies from Driven to Read. The school is offering additional rewards such as an iPad and Kindle reader.
Amy Dalton, an exceptional children’s teacher at the school, said the program will be a fun way to get kids pumped up about reading.
“I think it’s really going to motivate them to read more,” she said.
Booker said the reading program will span the entire year and every grade will participate.
“If we don’t do anything else, we need to get these kids to read,” she said. “If they leave here and they can’t read, we have done them a disservice.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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