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Niles Paul Has Story Time With Students

Posted Mar 12, 2015

Redskins tight end Niles Paul on Thursday journeyed to Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School to read stories to students and promote the Redskins Read Challenge.

Redskins tight end Niles Paul on Thursday journeyed to Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School to read stories to students and promote the Redskins Read Challenge.

“Is everybody listening?”  Niles Paul asked the group of kindergartners circled around him.

Their enthusiasm settled down and they waited quietly so the Washington Redskins tight end could begin to read.

That was the case all afternoon Thursdayat Roscoe R. Nix Elementary school in Silver Spring, Md., where Paul, along with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and FedEx volunteers, stopped by various classrooms to read books and surprise students.

"It’s important that kids know the importance of reading,” Paul said. “I feel like that’s what the generation growing up is losing. I know growing up my mom always used to make me read 100 pages every day before I could go out and do anything.”

The event celebrated the Redskins Read Program, through which FedEx delivers 250,000 Redskins Read Activity Books. The school is also participating in the Redskins Read Challenge, which ends Sunday, and distributed the books to 500 of their K-2 students.

“One of the important things is that they see people that they emulate reading and enjoying reading,” school principal Annette Ffolkes said. “That’s important for them, not to see reading as a chore, but reading as a pleasure, and anyone can enjoy it at any age.”

Paul, who began the day reciting Dr. Seuss’ “Yertle the Turtle,” took some questions after reading and tested each class’s comprehension of the story.

“[Reading] was big for me,” Paul said. “It was instilled with me since I was little. In order to do whatever I had to do, I had to read. The way technology is kids need to understand the importance of picking up a book and reading it and find a book you can get lost in.”

Paul never had the experience of an athlete coming to his school and promoting education. His presence, even just for a momen capturing the attention of six and seven-year-olds, plays a valuable role.

“This is a very important, foundational set of years to really get the basics of reading,” Ffolkes said. “Having visitors come in who are not the usual teachers in the building makes it extra special for them.”

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