Students across Central Louisiana participated in “Read with Malcolm” Reading Rallies as part of a three-day Geaux READ Tour presented by Share the Magic Foundation and The Rapides Foundation. Almost 3,500 students attended the rallies presented in nine schools August 29-31.
The Reading Rallies were led by Malcolm Mitchell, an author, Super Bowl Champion and Founder/CEO of Share the Magic Foundation. Mitchell considers a love of reading to be his greatest achievement and founded Share the Magic with a sole purpose: to transform children’s lives through literacy.
At the Reading Rallies each student received a copy of Mitchell’s book, “The Magician’s Hat,” and participated in a high-energy, pep rally-style assembly that included a read-along and magic show.
“Thank you to The Rapides Foundation for making it possible for me and my Foundation to share the magic of reading with so many children on the Geaux READ Tour,” Mitchell said. “This is a very special event and a very important message: that in order to succeed you have to read. I was very excited to see the kids at each stop on the tour and I look forward to seeing everyone in Central Louisiana again soon.”
The Geaux READ Tour was in connection with The Rapides Foundation’s ninth annual Symposium held on September 1. The Foundation presents the Symposium each year as a way to gather around a topic of importance and to recognize the creation of The Rapides Foundation on September 1, 1994. The focus of the 2022 Symposium was Early Childhood Literacy and featured Mitchell’s presentation, Read to a Better Future, in which he described the transformational power of reading through his personal story and literacy-based research. The Geaux READ Tour was an additional part of the 2022 Symposium and provided an opportunity to reinforce the importance of encouraging reading at a young age so that children are better prepared to achieve school success.
“The Symposium gives The Rapides Foundation the opportunity each year to shine a spotlight on an important topic that impacts the communities we serve,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “The importance of early childhood literacy has been raised as a critical issue for many years at the local, state and national levels. Research tells us that children who are not reading at grade level by third grade are among the most vulnerable to drop out of school later, so it’s important to have strategies in place to improve those outcomes.”
The Rapides Foundation allocates 40% of its spending to its Education Initiative to increase the level of educational attainment and achievement as the primary path to improved economic, social and health status. The work is implemented in the areas of School Readiness, Effective Schools, and Career and Postsecondary Readiness. The mission of The Rapides Foundation is to improve the health status of Central Louisiana and large-scale improvement in educational attainment across the region is necessary for improved health status.
Since founding Share the Magic Foundation, Mitchell and his organization have reached more than 400,000 students across the country and internationally through Read with Malcolm Literacy Initiatives. Mitchell’s mission is to inspire young people to read by bringing book ownership to students in Title I schools and under-resourced communities. Whether a student is a striving reader or learns differently, Read with Malcolm literacy programs – both in school and virtually – provide inspiration and motivation, and carry the message that reading is the key to achieving one’s goals. To learn more about Mitchell’s vision to inspire young and striving readers, please visit his website.