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Dwight Howard of the Atlanta Hawks Encourages Kids To Read for the Long Haul

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Today is going to be an exciting day for some very special kids in the Atlanta area.  If the truth be known, it is going to be an exciting day for my husband and I too!  Today Dwight Howard of the Atlanta Hawks will be hosting a special screening of Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  The Long Haul.  Guess who is going to be there?  Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Jason Drucker who plays Greg Heffley in the newest film.   While we may not be well-known for our skills on the court (well maybe I am with my class at  school) or well-known for writing some of the funniest books around for kids, my husband and I will also be attendance!
In addition to his role on his hometown’s basketball team, the Atlanta Hawks’ Dwight Howard plays a lesser known role in another important local arena championing literacy for Atlanta’s youngest kids. Last fall, Howard’s literacy efforts resulted in a meeting with Jeff Kinney, author of the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID book series (one of the most successful kids’ series of all time). Kinney, in town shooting the latest film adaptation from the book series, invited the Hawks’ center to visit the set.
A friendship formed and Howard asked to host the film’s Atlanta debut, as a reward – and incentive – for Atlanta’s young readers. On Sunday, May 14 at 4:30PM, Howard and Kinney will host an exclusive screening of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL for youth participants in a variety of Atlanta reading programs. Instead of a “Red Carpet,” kids, cast members, athletes and artists will walk a “READ Carpet,” sharing what they plan to read this summer – or loved reading as a child.  You can check out a lot of cool  “READ Carpet” videos from kids on the D12 Foundation Facebook page
The Atlanta Hawks’ Check It Out Reading Challenge (CIORC), presented by Philips, will also officially launch on May 14Chaired by Howard and starting its 13th year of partnership with the Georgia Public Library Service, CIORC encourages kids to use their local library to enhance summer learning and kids who achieve their reading goals earn a ticket for a future Hawks’ game. Kids can learn more about at their local library and online at www.checkitoutreading.com.
For his part, Howard is excited to see the film, spot some Atlanta sights in the scenery, and share the “READ Carpet” with Kinney and Jason Ian Drucker, who plays the story’s hero, Greg Heffley. Howard says: “The WIMPY KID books are fun for kids to read and, really, if a kid enjoys reading, that makes learning everything easier. I hope kids see the film and think about reading the next book and the next one. A kid who likes reading is a kid who’ll be successful.”
As an avid reader who loves to get lost in a good book AND as an educator that strives to excite children’s imaginations with reading, the efforts of Dwight Howard truly impress me.  I can’t stress just how important it is to have your child READ over the summer!  In a time when electronic devices can easily capture the attention of children, getting your child on board with summer reading is going to be very important!
As a mother of boys, I know how important summertime is and the need for kids just to be kids!  My children are no exception! As a teacher, summer shouldn’t mean taking a break from learning, especially reading. Summer reading is very important in developing life-long reading habits, in maintaining literacy skills and in promoting reading for pleasure. Studies have repeatedly shown that children who continue to read during the summer months perform better when school resumes in the fall. Research also reveals that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. While I know it may be hard and some of you may have a “fight” on your hands just for asking or requiring reading, please make efforts this summer to help children keep those reading skills they just gained from the school year.  
So we hope that you will encourage your children to not take a “long haul” break from reading this summer.  There are plenty of great books to be read and enjoyed!  Just head to your local library to help your child discover the world that is just waiting to be discovered by them.
Social Media Connections
About Dwight Howard’s D12 Foundation (www.D12Foundation.org): The D12 Foundation is focused on facilitating positive change in the lives of American youth through strategic programmatic and partners. The foundation also has a strong focus on the education of girls in East Africa. Guided by D12 Foundation founder and president, Dwight Howard, the Foundation strategically fills critical community needs by collaborating with individuals and organizations who share our vision in three key areas:
Early Childhood Education and Literacy
Girls Empowerment through Education in East Africa
Youth Leadership Development
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  1. Akamatra says

    It’s always important to teach young kids how awesome books are! I wish my kid will take after me and her dad and become a bookworm too! Have fun at the screening!

  2. kage2015 says

    Good for Dwight Howard. Great when anyone encourages reading at any age. Kids look up to sports players so it is great to see them helping promote something that will help children.

  3. brandyellen says

    What a great program, I know we spend a lot of time at the library and my one son who hates school NEVER suffers from summer slump. His Fall testing for state tests at school so a higher rating than when he’s been in school for a quarter and they test him. Thinking I got the reading thing and educating the kids thing down. Reading also helps creativity be boosted!

  4. Anosa says

    These days it’s much hard to convince kids to read books when they can play video games so this is lovely to read about.

  5. Katie Kinsley says

    The perfect time to read for kids is during the summer! I remember as a kid that I had a reading form to fill out and I received six flags tickets for reading at school!

  6. Cam Maurene says

    This is so true. Many kids today just waste their summer days. I hope more kids spend their time productively like reading books.

  7. Yes Missy says

    I think this is great cause that Dwight is working for. Kids don’t read enough these days, and it’s such an important skill to have!

  8. Devina says

    This is so great! Love the Read Carpet too! It’s great when people like him can encourage kids to read – good to see someone use their celebrity in a great way!

  9. alifeofauthenticity says

    Such a great think for DH to do. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was one of my son’s favorite books. It definitely speaks to pre/teenage boys so I’m sure the movie will be a hit but it might just inspire the viewers to pick up the book and begin reading the series. Nice job DH. Thank you for sharing this post.

  10. jamesog2008 says

    I respect Dwight Howard for this initiative. He is not the player he once was, but cannot sneeze at this

  11. Debra Hawkins says

    My daughter would absolutely freak out! She has read every Diary of a Wimpy Kid book multiple times! Meeting the author would be a dream come true!

  12. Rika (@thedealmatch) says

    What a great program. My kids love the Diary of a Whimpy Kid book, so fun to read!

  13. That’s so great he’s getting involved with the community and inspiring kids to read! Our summer reading program, since it was required, never really inspired me to want to do reading for my own pleasure. I think if I had role models to look up to when I was told to enjoy reading, I may have actually grown up WANTING to read. Nowadays, I really only read for work and wish I was raised differently. l bet this will be great for kids!

  14. Andrea ThePetiteCook says

    What a fantastic program, it’s really important to teach kids to read as many books as possible, especially in this new technologic era we’re living in.

  15. DOT says

    Oh this is interesting. I dont have kid myself .. yet

  16. Ideefixe says

    Great initiative, I wish I started earlier. Reading is definitely one of the significant aspect in character building. Such an amazing opportunity to meet Jeff Kinney!

  17. myjoyfulsource says

    Great program! Reading is a great tool for cultivating creativity as well!

  18. Rebecca Swenor says

    This sounds like a great challenge for kids this summer. The Dwight Howard’s D12 Foundation sounds amazing and I am so glad they have foundations like this helping children. Thanks for sharing the information.

  19. Leslie M. Guzman says

    That is one sweet of everyone involved to do this. Two the celebrities did a great deed. Reading is so important and nowe they make it cool for these kids.

  20. toastycritic says

    That’s very cool that they are giving this opportunity to kids in the area to encourage them to read. Sounds like a great summer program.

  21. Marielle Altenor says

    My son thinks summer means no more learning lol He always act shock when I tell him to read for a few minutes a day. The way I make it fun is that I read a bedtime story to both him and his baby sister.

  22. How nice that Dwight Howard is invested in the future of our youth. Reading is so important to expanding your mind and education. I cannot wait to see the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My kids have always loved these books.

  23. Garf says

    I like reading but have been doing it online now. It is easier for me to do that way.

  24. Jaime Nicole says

    Reading is so important – and we love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We are really excited about the movie too!

  25. Khushboo says

    It is so good when icons take up a cause and promote things close to their heart. I loved the fact that Dwight is promoting reading for kids. It is an important initiative 🙂

  26. Diana Ajih says

    Sounds like an amazing program. Every time my nieces visit me during the summer, I always ask them what books they are reading. Summer is the perfect time for kids to read more.

  27. Deimarys says

    I remember when my son used to ask me for every book of the Diary of a wimpy kid. He used to love those. Now that he’s 17 its a miracle if I even see him with a book!!!

  28. ct2428 says

    I think it’s fantastic that Howard is taking the time to be involved in a worthy cause. Reading is fundamental to the education and advancement of children and it’s wonderful when sports figures make an effort to inspire kids outside of the court or field.

  29. Debbie-jean Lemonte says

    I think this is a great initiative simply because I wish I had this growing up. It’ll keep children engaged, learning, and occupied.

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