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Students hear power of reading from super hero

By Lorenzo Salinas



It’s not every day a superhero reads to schoolchildren to help them learn.

Claire Jackson put on a cape and mask for a superhero-themed kickoff party that started the third annual “Y Reads!” program in Lucian Adams Elementary School’s gym.

“Y Reads!” is a youth literacy initiative run and subsidized by YMCA Port Arthur, United Way of Mid & South Jefferson County, Flint Hills Resources and Port Arthur ISD.

Jackson is public affairs manager for Flint Hills.

The kickoff party Thursday afternoon included games, group exercises, a blowup dinosaur and, of course, books.

Childcare and Y Reads Director Brittany Mercer said the program is a way to improve reading and comprehension skills for K through 2 students.

“Some of these students are two to three reading levels behind their grade,” Mercer said. “And so it affects their comprehension and lowers their self esteem… So, we’re here to boost their self esteem by bettering their reading skills.”

The program runs from the beginning of October to the end of April.

Students who are deemed good candidates for the program are chosen by their teachers during the first month of school and recommended to the program.

YMCA President William “Bud” Oliver said the program helped about 140 students last year.

“Kids who read are kids who succeed,” he said.

The free program runs after school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Booker T. Washington, Sam Houston and Adams Elementary Schools.