NFL teams and legends celebrated their 6th annual NFL Tackle Reading Day at Heritage Academy on Wednesday, March 2. NFL stars, children’s authors, artists, doctors, radio personalities, influencers, celebrities, and others were in attendance for Tackle Reading Across America Day, traditionally known as World Read Aloud Day, which formerly was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The stars gathered at Heritage Academy and read to students to influence a love of literacy within the students. During the event, the Sydney Paige Foundation donated 5,000 books to Heritage Academy and Atlanta Public Schools.
The purpose of the event was to promote youth literacy and one way this was achieved was introducing books by minority authors from around the country. Adding to the excitement, a few of those authors were present at the event to read their books to students. Award-winning children’s book author Anna Nyakana read her best-selling book, “Niyah Zuri & The Pharoah’s Throne,” to the students and spoke to them during the pep rally that followed.
“The NFL’s ‘tackle reading across America day’ brought a spotlight to such a crucial gap for our youth – the love of literacy,” Nyakana said. “We know that the truth shall ‘set you free,’ yet how can a child truly be free if they don’t know themselves.”
“I was honored to be a non-Atlanta author highlighted in this year’s event, which was an opportunity to empower youth through my series, which focuses on teaching children their true origin of legacy versus the indoctrinations normally highlighted throughout the year and even during the 28 days of Black History Month.”
After the celebrities spent time reading to the children, students gathered in the auditorium for a literacy pep rally with a live DJ and entertainment by several recording artists. After the music and entertainment portion of the pep rally, there were several motivational speeches by doctors, authors and artists who encouraged students to live their lives and maximize their full potential by prioritizing education.
One of the speakers was Dr. Contessa Metcalfe, who spoke about the empowerment of youth literacy.
“This is such an amazing experience because for most children they don’t travel and get to see outside of their immediate world,” Dr. Metcalfe said. “Reading allows them to see the world and teaches them what exists outside of their world. Reading allows you to dream and expands your horizons.”
These speeches featured inspiring stories about how the speakers became successful and highlighted the similarities between the speakers and the students. It was an incredible day of inspiration, empowerment and fun!