“You know, I had no idea how to become a better reader,” football player Malcolm Mitchell says in this NFL Network video about his experiences as a college player at the University of Georgia. Last month, Mitchell was drafted by the New England Patriots.
In college, Mitchell knew his reading skills were behind those of his college peers. And he knew that to get better at football, “you practice,” so he decided to practice so he could get better at reading.
Because of an injury in 2013, an ACL tear, he was forced to miss a number of games, which gave him time to read more, the Boston Globe reported last month.
The Boston Herald says that Mitchell’s desire to read “led him to a Barnes & Noble in Athens, Ga., in May 2014. Kathy Rackley was in the same aisle looking for her book club’s newest assignment when Mitchell asked for a recommendation.
“’So we started talking books, and I showed him what I had in my hand,’ said Rackley, who offered up “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes. ‘I said I had just joined a book club. He got all excited, took a step back and said, ‘I want to join a book club. Do you think I could join yours?’ I started laughing and said, ‘I don’t think you want to join mine. We’re all 40-, 50- and 60-year-old women.’ He very earnestly said, ‘I don’t care. I just want to read.’”
The Globe adds: “As his love of reading flourished, he wanted to help kids get into reading and enjoy it, so he began frequenting local elementary schools to read with students for what was eventually dubbed, Read With Malcolm.”
“And as time grew, I fell in love with writing,” Mitchell says in the NFL video.
Eventually that meant writing a children’s book called The Magician’s Hat. It’s a book about David, a magician, who understands “the magical powers of books.”
Books can “explore dreams and develop creativity,” Mitchell’s website says. So bring “your imagination and look inside The Magician’s Hat.”
Mitchell’s commitment to reading and to reaching young children with a great book is inspiring. It’s a touchdown for early literacy.