On Tuesday, March 3, UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin and UFC middleweight Julian Marquez visited fifth and sixth grade students at Red Rock Elementary School in partnership with Spread the Word Nevada and Nevada Reading Week.
“I really enjoy reading, and do it every day,” said Griffin. “It’s funny, it’s much harder to read to kids out loud. I want these kids to grow up and love reading too. I want them to find something they enjoy reading; that’s the key.”
Griffin and Marquez read a selection of books to students and discussed the importance of reading. Marquez even rapped a book to the students to encourage reading in a fun way.
“Today was a special day, because Forrest read a very complicated Dr. Seuss book, but I kept it fun and read Llama Llama Red Pajamas,” joked Marquez. “I started rapping and showed them a fun, different way to read, so they could enjoy reading.”
In 1987, the Nevada Department of Education began a statewide initiative to celebrate reading through shared thematic activities. Many Las Vegas celebrities, parents, and community members participate by reading to students. This year, Nevada Reading Week is taking place from March 2 – March 6, with the theme “Saddle Up and Read.” Nevada Reading Week coincides with Dr. Seuss’ Birthday on March 2.
Spread the Word Nevada, is a children’s literacy nonprofit dedicated to advancing early childhood literacy by placing books into the hands and homes of children within Nevada’s at-risk, low-income communities. While developing a love of reading, these libraries promote future academic achievement and self-confidence, which impacts lifelong success. Since 2001, Spread the Word Nevada has distributed more than 4.8 million gently used and new books to approximately 542,000 low-income youth in Nevada.
“Today was really important because the UFC fighters came to visit our school and read to our students,” said Stephanie Wong, principal of Red Rock Elementary School. “Our students don’t often get the chance to go out and see professional athletes in their venue. Having them visit is great because they shared the importance of reading with the children, and the kids respond because they know these athletes have influence in the community.”
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