Dec. 7, 2010
Rice University basketball coach Ben Braun and junior forward Emerson Herndon helped tip-off the Ticket To Reading Rewards program at Pershing Middle School on Tuesday. Both coach and player spoke about the benefits of reading during their visit to the Houston Independent School District middle school campus located just minutes from the Rice campus.
Braun challenged the middle school students to find books about subjects which interested them. He also encouraged students to share books with their classmates. Herndon, who is a graduate of the Houston ISD system, spoke about reading and how it prepared him for college. He also singled out the young people involved in athletics and told them how academic success could help lead to an athletic scholarship.
The reading incentive program encourages Middle School students to read books outside the classroom and obtain rewards for reading. Ticket To Reading Rewards has three primary components: reading rewards, tickets to local college basketball games and a coaching component for middle school coaches.
The reading component encourages students to read in an effort to obtain predetermined rewards such as subscriptions to Sports Illustrated for Kids, miniature basketball hoops, medals, basketballs autographed by NCAA coaches, books and gift certificates.
The NABC Foundation provides free tickets to local college games or practices to all students who enter the program. Teachers often remark that having middle school students visit a local college campus and visualize themselves attending the college can be the single most important element of the program.
Finally, the NABC Foundation often runs a Coach the Coaches clinic for middle school basketball coaches in each school district. The clinics not only focus on basketball techniques but also on motivating coaches to encourage their players to reach a high level of reward in the program and to provide leadership within the school to promote reading.
The Ticket To Reading Rewards program was founded in 2002 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Foundation. Over the life of the program, students have read an estimated 4,000,000 books, obtained nearly 1,000,000 rewards and attended 125,000 local men's and women's NCAA basketball games - all at no cost to the schools or students.