Kathryn Starke, creator of Tackle Reading. Photos courtesy of
the Tackle Reading team.
“Let every child find joy in reading.”
Each month we highlight a community program that aligns with the values of SoulVision Magazine. We believe engaging with one’s community is critical to fostering positive change in the world.
Tackle Reading is not just a book, but a movement. It is the brainchild of urban literacy consultant Kathryn Starke. She’s a former elementary school teacher and founder of Creative Minds Publications, an educational publishing company in Richmond, Virginia. While teaching in underserved communities, Kathryn quickly understood the need for a program that went beyond the regular curriculum. In 2013, she worked with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to create a summer reading program in the Richmond and Chesterfield County school systems. This work gave her an idea. In 2016, she published Tackle Reading. The book featured motivational stories from NFL athletes, celebrities, teachers and authors. The book also serves as a guide/lesson plan for educators to improve literacy instruction for every child.
Tackle Reading book cover.
Kathryn Starke wanted to do even more, so she reached out to some of the participants in the Tackle Reading book. Michelle Staubach Grimes, daughter of Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, saw the book on social media and contacted her directly. They partnered to create Tackle Reading Day. This month marks the 4th annual Tackle Reading Day. The program is open to any school that would like to participate. Tackle Reading Day falls on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America Day. “We have representation from all 32 teams including current players, formal players, and Hall of Fame members,” Kathryn says. “I created this event to promote a love of literacy with a passion for football.”
The promotion of literacy is important to the NFL athletes who participate. Many grew up in areas where libraries and the celebration of reading were non-existent. Tackle Reading allowed them to use their voices to motivate kids to be excited about learning and reading. The program teaches that those who continue to learn and read become the most successful adults.
Brandon Carr of the Baltimore Ravens, one of the participants
of Tackle Reading.
Kathryn Starke’s work goes beyond Tackle Reading. She says she’s working on publishing another educational resource and two fiction manuscripts “I’ve created the first literacy application that simulates the one-on-one reading instruction between teachers and students,” she says. “I’m currently looking for the best educational partner who wants to make an impact on literacy education.” Kathryn will continue her fight to increase the literacy rate and make sure all children have the opportunity to become avid readers and learners. In order to be great leaders, they must be great readers.