The Charleston RiverDogs baseball team is preparing to begin its fourth season of “Reading and Running With the RiverDogs.”
Members of the minor league baseball team’s front office travel twice a month to Pinehurst, Blaney, Lambs, Burns and North Charleston elementary schools for the program, which is designed to emphasize the fun and benefits in daily reading.
The staffers will meet with third-grade students where they will read for 15-20 minutes and then rotate between classes for about an hour. There will be approximately eight visits per school.
“Each class and school has a different approach. Some are just reading and others are integrating a physical activity,” said Lauren Allio, director of community relations for the RiverDogs.
The program annually reaches more than 300 students, and Allio said the RiverDogs will be working with 345 students in 18 classes this year. An average of 12 to 15 members of the baseball team’s staff will participate.
Allio said last year the Charleston County School District appointed a basket of books with about 20 titles. Good sportsmanship or other subjects that could influence positive behavior were included, along with books about sports figures.
“Children are encouraged to bring their favorite book and read to the class. And most teachers also have a library in the classroom,” Allio said.
There is a point-based reward program. Students can earn a point for every 20 minutes they read and/or exercise. “Works of kindness (such as reading to a youngster, helping with the housework, carrying groceries for an elderly person or helping in the yard) while exercising or reading earn two points for each 20 minutes. Students record their points in a log and their parent or guardian will verify the activities.
Students are awarded monthly the following: 25 points, Top Dog ribbon; 50 points, RiverDogs souvenir drink cup; 75 points, book donated to school library in the student’s name; 100 points, RiverDogs T-shirt and two tickets to the RiverDogs game on May 10 (additional tickets for family members may be secured at a reduced rate); and 101 or more points, free meal ticket at the game for a hot dog, chips and a drink.
Literacy is one of the Charleston County School District’s focal points.
“Our ongoing partnership with the RiverDogs supports our continued efforts with literacy and helps to sustain our Vision 2016 for academic achievement of all students,” said Mary Ann Dieter, curriculum specialist for the Charleston County School District’s Literacy Based Learning Division.
“This program is a win-win opportunity for all involved,” said RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols. “We remain pleased to have this direct association with the Charleston County School District and it is our goal to make an impact with child development.”