The James Madison University women’s basketball team and Duke Dog will be welcoming Winchester/Rockbridge elementary schools to the December 20th game against nationally-ranked Maryland. The groups have teamed up to promote literacy throughout the Shenandoah Valley with the Duke Dog Reading Program.
“The JMU athletics marketing department is very excited to be able to extend this program to areas outside of Harrisonburg,” athletics marketing intern and Duke Dog Reading Program coordinator Jordan Anderson said. “We hope that by bringing the children to a JMU women’s basketball game, we will be able to establish a sense of excitement about participating in the program and above all, reading.”
Students participating in the program are given a set number of books they must read over the course of two and a half weeks. Those who complete their reading goals are rewarded with tickets for themselves and two others to the JMU women’s basketball game against Maryland on December 20 and vouchers to the Fun Expedition in Winchester. The tickets are also used throughout the game for prize drawings to win gift cards from Barnes and Noble. In addition, there will be an on-court recognition during halftime for the top three reading schools (determined through percentages), as well as the classes that reach 100% participation.
Last year, over 25 schools from the counties of Rockingham and Augusta participated in the program, which reached out to more than 10,000 students. The success of the program also garnered national attention. In June 2007, the Duke Dog Reading Program was identified by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators as the Gold Winner of the Single Day Attendance Promotion for Women's Basketball.