Reading is key to success

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Maya Moore is working with the United Way to help kids learn the importance of reading.

I recently was given the opportunity to participate in the United Way Day of Action. On the longest day of each year, United Way puts together the event where people from around the world come together to encourage the power of volunteerism.

This year, United Way was helping raise awareness for a worldwide issue that is very close to my heart: early-grade reading proficiency. As the United Way's early-grade reading champion, I was honored to help inform, inspire and recruit 21,000 readers, tutors and mentors through a 21-hour broadcast of live programming via Google on-air hangout.

It was a really cool day because I felt connected to so many other people that also have a passion for education, raising awareness and getting people excited, informed and involved about helping increase early-grade reading proficiency. The issue is a global problem, but it’s especially important here in the United States, where an estimated two-thirds of students are not reading on grade level by fourth grade. As an American citizen and competitor, I can’t accept that statistic.

In the afternoon before our game, I logged on and read a book live by Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut.” It is a fun, but powerful book that talks about the places you can go with reading. I hope everyone watching enjoyed it and felt inspired to participate. I loved seeing the tweets from adults who seemed to enjoy the book as much as I did!

Early-grade reading is critical to the success of our youth. Because of my supportive family and my work ethic in the classroom, I was able to capitalize on many opportunities on and off the basketball court. It makes such a big difference for kids when they feel confident going into school with strong reading skills. We owe every kid that opportunity.

It's vital that our communities are aware and involved advocating the importance early-grade reading and I’m glad I was able to join such a prestigious lineup of ambassadors in delivering the message.

I hope that you'll join me helping United Way recruit one million readers, tutors and volunteers. Change can happen through you!