For weeks Ettrick Elementary School students were hearing Vroom Vrooooom, Vrooom VROOOOM over the loud speaker during morning and afternoon announcements, and they heard those sounds in the hallways as they went for their breaks and lunches. Then they heard Nutzy, the Richmond Squirrels’ mascot, was coming for a visit. Posters of motorcycles and books started showing up on the walls of the hallways announcing the special day when the Riders for Readers on their motorcycles and Nutzy would come to visit. The students were getting “revved up about reading.”
Last Friday was the day to find out what all the buzz was about and nearly 550 students gathered on the school’s blacktop to welcome Nutzy and the Riders for Readers on their motocycles.
“Revved Up About Reading” was coordinated by Heidi Richardson, Title 1 Reading teacher and sponsored by Riders for Readers, for the third through fifth grade students at Ettrick. After the initial welcome, K-2 students returned to their classrooms for a special visit with Nutzy and the 3-5 grades remained on the blacktop for their special event. The children had 1,200 books to choose from and were able to select two to take home. Along with their books they also receive a t-shirt, snacks, visits with the volunteers with Riders for Readers and a chance to sit on a motorcycle.
“They are incredible,” said Richardson about the Riders for Readers. “What they do – their donation of books, the t-shirts, the snacks – it’s incredible.”
Riders for Readers was founded 10 years ago by South Richmond Rotary member Eric Engler, first as a committee in the club then a spin-off because it became too large. “It is largely funded by Rotary members to promote childhood literacy,” said Engler. “We like to promote recreational reading. Get [children] in the habit of selecting books rather than reading books they have been assigned.” Engler said the group will try to do around six events a year. For more information on Riders for Readers, visit ridersforreaders.org.