DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - One Dougherty County School is exploring new ways to motivate kids to read.
Radium Springs Middle School kicked off its reading campaign with a touchdown.
Star athlete and motivational speaker Antionio Leroy paid a visit to the school on Friday. It's a place he's familiar with.
Leroy went to Radium Springs Middle School then Monroe High School before going on to Albany State University where he became one of the school's greatest football players.
"My fondest memory was not getting an MVP in football in track and field, but getting the citizenship award from the principal," said Leroy.
On Friday, Leroy taught students not how to tackle an opponent, but how to tackle a good book.
"Through reading you can be in Albany in one line and a paragraph later you can be in Spain or New England," explained Leroy.
Leroy's visit with students kicks off a year-long reading campaign at the middle school.
"We just know with that motivation, with that excitement, kids who read tend to do better overall," said Brenda Wilcox, the English and Language Arts Chair at the middle school.
Teachers chose Leroy because students can relate to him.
"I was part of that statistical number," said Leroy. "As a student who was coming from a single parent home, an African American male. I wasn't supposed to make it. Not only did I make it, I excelled."
Leroy explained to students how reading was a stepping stone to his goals. He said he hopes his talk motivates students to read not just in school but on a daily basis at home.
"We want to inspire these students to make reading a process. Like eating everyday we want you to read everyday," said Leroy.
Leroy currently works as a the executive director of the Center for African American Male at ASU.
This was just the first of many events the school will do this year to encourage reading.
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