Harrisonburg, Va., February 7, 2012-The James Madison women's basketball team hosted the University of Delaware in front of a packed house of local elementary students and their families Sunday evening in the Convocation Center.
The children in attendance earned their admission to the game through participating in the Duke Dog Reading Program, an event with local city and county schools which encourages students to read. "The students are assigned a certain amount of reading goals and if they meet their goals, they are given a ticket to come out and watch the game," explained women's basketball Director of Operations Tim Clark.
In addition to the students individually receiving complimentary game tickets, any classroom that meets their assigned reading goal receives a signed women's basketball team poster.
"To start off the program we usually bring some of the athletes to the local schools and read to the younger kids to get them excited about the opportunity," said Clark. "We have also done some question and answer sessions with the older kids because they seem to respond to that better."
Sophomore guard Kirby Burkholder participated in the reading program and said, "I really enjoy being involved with the Duke Dog Reading Program. It's great to give a little bit of time to go read and interact with the kids at their schools and to be able to give back to the kids who look up to us so much."
The women's basketball team will host another Duke Dog Reading Day on Feb. 26 in a 3:30 p.m. tipoff against Old Dominion at the Convocation Center.