Read Across America started out as a day, turned into a week, and now – it’s become a month-long celebration of reading.
“We’ve kind of been having guest readers all throughout the month of March,” said Heather Wiselogle, first grade teacher at Cherry Tree Elementary in Carmel.
They’ve had news people, politicians, and on Tuesday afternoon, they had Colts safety Matthias Farley come in and share his love of reading.
But the truth is, he didn’t always love to read.
“It’s definitely a funny coincidence that I come here now and read to kids,” he said. “When I was little, I had a very, very difficult time reading and spelling and I would get really, really embarrassed when I would get called on to read.”
Just like football, it took dedication and practice to get better.
“My dad would have me wake up 30 minutes before my siblings to go over my words for my spelling test so I could gain some confidence with him before I went into school,” he said. “I’m very grateful because he didn’t have to do that. He would have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual too, to invest that time in me.”
And it paid off – with a love of reading and a comfort level doing it.
“I think reading is such an important thing, especially now,” said Farley. “As I’m getting older, I’m starting to realize that knowledge definitely is power.”
With 120 first graders gathered around him, Farley read “Blue’s Road Trip Through Indiana.”
“This book was written by Blue, who’s our mascot – and the best mascot in the NFL,” he told them.
Afterwards, he took questions, including:
Do you like your job?
“I love my job. It’s a great job. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s kind of stressful sometimes, but it’s the best job in the world, I think.”
When will you retire?
“Hopefully, not for a long time. Hopefully in like 20 years.”
And who’s your favorite person on the team?
“That’s hard. I came to the team late and I got put between two guys named Antonio Morrison and another guy named Edwin Jackson and they were very, very nice to me and very welcoming and I still hang out with them pretty much every day. So, those are probably my two favorites. But I like everybody. It’s a great team. I’m really good friends with everybody.”
Farley left with a few new friends.
“These kids here are awesome,” he said. “They asked really good questions, they were engaged the whole time, which is really exciting to see – kids really excited to hear about a book or reading a book. Some of them asked where they could get the book.”
Matthias Farley is preparing to write the next chapter in his football career. But in the meantime, he’s still practicing reading.
“There’s always room for improvement,” he said.
And there is no offseason for learning.