Thunder Launches Third Season of Education Partnership with American Fidelity

OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 15, 2010 -- The Oklahoma City Thunder this week begins a third season of “Read to Achieve,” a multifaceted literacy initiative presented by American Fidelity Assurance Company. Thunder players James Harden and Eric Maynor will help kick off the first event of the season, a Reading Time-Out, on Thursday at Buchanan Elementary School in Oklahoma City.

Rumble the Bison will start the festivities at 1:45 p.m. with a show for the kids. Afterwards, Harden and Maynor are scheduled to read to the schoolchildren, discuss the importance of reading and lead the kids in reciting the “Reading Pledge.” Also appearing at the Reading Time-Out will be Thunder Girls.

Designed to help instill in children a lifelong love of reading, “Read to Achieve” encompasses three key campaigns: Reading Time-Outs, the Rolling Thunder Book Bus and the Thunder Reading Challenge.

“The Thunder is committed to improving the lives of children, and that means ensuring that our young people have the opportunity to pursue a bright future,” said Thunder Director of Community Relations Christine Berney.

“Education and reading are critical for children to lead happy, productive lives. That’s what ‘Read to Achieve’ is about, and that’s why this initiative is so important to the Thunder and American Fidelity.”

The Book Bus has distributed more than 26,000 books to children at about 320 visits to Oklahoma City metro schools, community centers and other locations.

The annual Thunder Reading Challenge, which begins in November, is a competition that rewards elementary school students who read for the highest total of minutes. Approximately 9,000 students in 100 area schools registered in the first contest, which was held last year. The winner of that challenge, an Edmond second-grade student, alone read more than 39,000 minutes.

“Read to Achieve” also features the American Fidelity Teacher of the Game, in which outstanding educators are recognized at Thunder games.

Buchanan Elementary is a partner school of American Fidelity.