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Teachers, parents, and students at Oklahoma City Public School’s North Highland Elementary took part in The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation’s opening of the first Russell’s Reading Room. Those in attendance also celebrated the launch of Russell’s Reading Challenge, sponsored by SUBWAY®.
According to statistics, the ratio of books to children in low-income neighborhoods is one book to every 300 children compared to one for 13 in middle-income areas. First announced in April 2014, Russell’s Reading Room is a literacy initiative created to combat this very real issue and provide Oklahoma City children access to books in a safe environment where they can read with friends. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the first Russell’s Reading Room at North Highland Elementary. Following the reveal, Westbrook, North Highland Elementary students, parents and faculty, as well as some members of the media, visited the room to see what great books were stocked on the shelves. Westbrook has always stressed the importance of education and a safe learning environment, saying many times as part of his Why Not? Foundation mission: “I believe education is the simplest and most direct path towards a better life, so I want to not only motivate these kids to read and get involved in their education, but also to provide them with the tools necessary to successfully meet my challenge.”
Russell’s Reading Room in North Highland Elementary is filled with 1,200 books for children in grades Kindergarten – 5th Grade. Russell’s Reading Room also houses a modular reading center, a stereo CD listening station and a listening library with fluency CDs. Russell’s Reading Room at North Highland is just the first of many, as Westbrook is projected to launch two more Russell’s Reading Rooms within a year’s time. Russell’s Reading Room at North Highland is just the first of many, as Westbrook is projected to launch two more Russell’s Reading Rooms within a year’s time.
Russell’s Reading Challenge is part of Scholastic’s national Read 100,000 Challenge program that encourages students to read and log 100,000 minutes as part of a school team. Students can log their reading minutes online at the Scholastic READ 100,000 website. To help get all the kids at North Highland Elementary reading, Russell and Scholastic gave every child a $5.00 Reading Certificate to use at the Scholastic Book Fair, ensuring that every child would own a book of their own and be able to experience the power and joy of reading. Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation have challenged over 75,000 students of the 147 metro Oklahoma City schools to read a combined 100,000 minutes. For students who read at least 20 minutes a day to achieve 2,500 minutes total, SUBWAY® will provide coupons for either a free six-inch sub to middle school students or a free SUBWAY® Kids Pak for elementary students. SUBWAY® will sponsor an end-of-the-year school-wide assembly for the school that logs the most minutes, with Russell in attendance.