DisruptED TV Magazine
By Kathryn Starke
By the time I was five-years-old, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I played school every afternoon after spending a full day as an elementary school student myself. I officially started my educational career fifteen years ago as a first and second grade teacher in an inner-city elementary school in Richmond, Virginia. I realized very quickly that most of the students in my class read significantly below grade level, which is not a problem unique to Richmond. Over 60% of nine-year-old children (80% of nine-year-old children in low income areas) around the country cannot read. I felt like I could make a bigger impact beyond just one classroom or school. Therefore, I started my educational business, Creative Minds Publications, LLC, to develop educational publications and presentations to motivate, support, and inspire children, teachers, families, and fellow educators to enjoy teaching and learning literacy.
I started out presenting in educational events around Virginia and Washington, DC, and had the honor of being a guest author for a reading day at FedEx Field hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. When the Washington Redskins moved their training camp to Richmond, the foundation contacted me to help create a summer reading program, in which the organization provided motivational prizes and incentives, including phone calls from athletes encouraging children to read daily for the three-month break. The K-5 students were so motivated and excited about reading, even the reluctant readers, whom are often young boys, it sparked the idea to write Tackle Reading, a book used in parent and teacher book clubs and professional development across the countries.
I knew there was more I could do with the title. Thanks to the support of the NFL, we are kicking off the third annual Tackle Reading day this March 1, 2019. This philanthropic day provides an opportunity for elementary schools around the country to receive the gift of reading from an NFL team or athlete in their community. The idea for Tackle Reading day came about through a conversation with fellow author, Michelle Staubach Grimes. Her dad, legendary quarterback, Roger Staubach, was one of our guest readers for the inaugural event. NFL athletes, alumni, coaches, and staff coast to coast visit a local elementary school to read to elementary school students for a day.