Orioles get a read on future fans

October 25, 1990|By Chrissy King | Chrissy King,Evening Sun Staff

Getting kids to read what's assigned to them in school is sometimes a nightmare for parents, but getting them to read on their own can be absolutely impossible. As the kids see it, there are so many better ways to spend their free time: playing with friends, watching TV, or just sitting around. What's a school to do?

Call in the Orioles, of course.

For the past three years, the Orioles' organization has been "adopting" elementary schools in Baltimore to get children excited about reading. Each year the team has adopted one school, usually chosen in conjunction with the city school board, and this year's school is Sinclair Lane in East Baltimore.

Representatives from the team come to the school and present the students with an adoption certificate, beginning the year-long period of adoption. The school is presented with $500, 50 tickets to future games, videos for the school library and the opportunity to use Orioles players for school activities.

Students also become a part of the "Read Like a Pro" program, co-sponsored by the Orioles and the city of Baltimore. Participating students must read and report on six books in 12 weeks to qualify for the prize of two Orioles game tickets.

The Orioles began their program in 1987 with the goal of reaching each elementary school in the city. The inaugural school was Barclay. In 1988, Waverly Elementary was chosen. Waverly principal Mary McRae said the affiliation with the team generated a "great deal of enthusiasm from the students."

The team adopted Northwood Elementary School in 1989. Students went to Memorial Stadium and were read to by Orioles players. Manager Frank Robinson came and read to students at one school activity. Northwood principal Judson Woods said the adoption was "outstanding" and helped to achieve the school's goal of promoting recreational reading. "It benefited the children quite well," he said.

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