The magic of reading

NFL player visits local schools to share book with children


Photo by Jillian Cheney

Malcolm Mitchell greets students at Highland Park Elementary. The Read with Malcolm program was founded to encourage children to read.

Story by Jillian Cheney, editor in chief

A gym full of students waits with anticipation for their awaited guest, clutching their books tightly and daring to break the rules and sit on their knees just for a moment, if it means they’ll catch a glimpse of the superstar about to enter the room.

NFL wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell began the Read with Malcolm program in 2015 to inspire young students to become avid readers.

“The program for me started when I was in college,” Mitchell said. “Once I realized how positively reading had shaped my life, I wanted to share that message with all kids.”

The event was held on April 6 at three TISD elementary schools.

“I feel it’s so important for our kids who are struggling readers to realize that they can do anything they want,” Highland Park principal Jennifer Cross said, “and that just because they’re struggling at this point in their life doesn’t mean you can’t change. We’re really big on setting goals here, and that is a huge goal to become very literate.”

Along with the event, each student receives a copy of Mitchell’s book, entitled “The Magician’s Hat.” The book features a magician that teaches that all problems can be solved with the help of reading.

“There’s a lot that’s gone into this project,” Mitchell said, “from actually writing it to getting it made, edited, and turned into a copy we can distribute.”

Mitchell and his team have traveled to over 30 states and plan to continue their tours by visiting more elementary schools and doing many more events.

“I hope all kids understand the importance of reading,” Mitchell said. “I want them to know they can be whatever they want to be, that they can accomplish whatever they want to accomplish, and that all starts with reading.”

As the Read with Malcolm program continues to travel around the country and teach more children about the importance of reading, more children are positively impacted and set on a better track for the future.

“They’re extremely excited about an NFL player coming,” Cross said, “because if you ask most of these boys what they want to be, it’s always, ‘I want to play football.’ But these kids are just as excited about having a book of their own they can take home.”