- Third-Year, NASCAR-Themed Educational Program Will Reach More Than 6,600 Elementary School Students In Eight Local Communities
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Star, Former Sprint Cup Series Veteran Elliott Sadler Makes Special “Virtual Visit” To All 11 Schools
FORT WORTH, Texas (September 9, 2013) – Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" program is expanding to 11 schools for the current school year and allowing the NASCAR-themed, incentive-laden reading platform to reach more than 6,600 elementary school students across eight local communities in only its third year of existence.
“Speeding To Read” will continue with its emphasis on the nearby Northwest Independent School District with nine schools involved, but also will extend to the Denton and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISDs with the addition of district pilot schools in each.
The Northwest ISD will be represented in six different communities as Clara Love (Justin), Kay Granger (Keller), Samuel Beck (Trophy Club), Sendera Ranch (Haslet), Roanoke, J.C. Thompson (Haslet), Prairie View (Rhome), Haslet and Carl E. Schluter (Haslet) elementary schools comprise the group.
“Texas Motor Speedway is definitely taking ‘Speeding To Read’ to the next level,” Clara Love Elementary School Principal Julie Nerby said. “Clara Love has partnered with Texas Motor Speedway since the inception of this reading program (in 2011) and we are excited to see the program expand this year so that an additional 5,000-plus kids can compete and ignite their love for reading. This year we anticipate a close race to the finish line, but the other schools need to know that Clara Love Elementary will be waving to them in our rear-view mirror at the checkered flag!”
“When students engage in reading, the impact on learning is substantial. They increase their vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension,” Samuel Beck Elementary School Principal Sandy Conklin added. “Beck Elementary is thrilled to be joining the ‘Speeding to Read’ program, which motivates students to set goals in reading and provides incentives for students at each turn. Texas Motor Speedway has shown their commitment to the community by creating a strong partnership with Beck Elementary and other NISD schools.”
The NISD contingent will be joined by E.P. Rayzor Elementary School of Lantana (Denton ISD) and Chisholm Ridge Elementary School of Fort Worth (Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD).
“E.P. Rayzor Elementary in the Denton ISD is excited to partner with Texas Motor Speedway in the ‘Speeding to Read’ program,” E.P. Rayzor Elementary School Principal Mary Dunlevy said. “It is our goal to engage our students in reading every day, both at home and at school, and this program helps to support that goal. Students are excited about their reading and meeting their goal at every turn. We look forward to winning this competition.”
The official “Speeding To Read” kickoff was held Monday morning with full assemblies simultaneously at all 11 campuses that were decorated with Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series banners, street signs featuring the names of NASCAR’s biggest stars hanging in the hallways, and custom-designed race tracks and scoring tower artwork to chart the reading competition throughout the year.
The students were treated with a virtual visit by NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler, who spoke live to all 11 schools about the importance of reading as well as his racing career. The virtual visit was interactive so each school was able to have students ask questions of Sadler, a NASCAR Nationwide Series star and former 12-year Sprint Cup Series veteran, and he was able to see the students and assemblies at every campus. The kickoff’s program of events also included a “Good Luck” message from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers and a video of a “racing” competition between all 11 principals that was staged previously at Texas Motor Speedway.
“The response to the ‘Speeding To Read’ program has been tremendous and the expansion will allow us to motivate more than four times the elementary school students we were able to reach a year ago,” Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo said. “Reading is essential to their growth and ultimately their future at this young age, so we’re delighted to assist our communities in helping further that development.”
"Speeding To Read" is a reading program that was created by Texas Motor Speedway to encourage elementary school students to read more frequently during the school year. “Speeding To Read” began in the 2011-12 school year with Clara Love Elementary School and its 600-plus students serving as the pilot school for the program.
After a successful debut in which Clara Love’s student body read more than 83,000 books, “Speeding To Read” expanded to three schools in 2012-13 with Clara Love being joined by fellow NISD elementary schools Justin and Hatfield. The three schools combined to read 283,208 books and 95 percent of the collective student body reached or surpassed their reading goals.
This year's competition will have three divisions, each of which being based off enrollment size and student body demographics, to determine the "Speeding To Read" champions for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and Grades 3-5. The Frontstretch Division will consist of Samuel Beck, Kay Granger and E.P. Rayzor. The Backstretch Division will be comprised of Clara Love, Prairie View, Chisholm Ridge and J.C. Thompson. The Pit Stop Division will consist of Roanoke, Sendera Ranch, Haslet and Carl E. Schluter.
The competition will be divided into four quarters - or four turns like a speedway - with the top individuals, classrooms and schools being recognized at each turn. Turn 1 coincides with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heating up in early October; Turn 2 with the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race week at Texas Motor Speedway from Oct. 31-Nov. 3; Turn 3 with the start of the new NASCAR season in February; and Turn 4 – the crowning of the champions - with the Texas 500 NASCAR doubleheader spring race week at Texas Motor Speedway. The 11-school race to the "Speeding To Read" championship will be known as the Lone Star 500.
The students and faculty will be treated to field trips at Texas Motor Speedway for their Turn 2 and Turn 4 award ceremonies, both of which coincide with the speedway’s NASCAR race weeks and feature a NASCAR driver as a guest speaker and trophy presenter. Drivers who have participated previously in the program have been five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, NASCAR star Danica Patrick and reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher.
The “Speeding To Read” program offers a bevy of incentives for the students, ranging from NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway merchandise to frontstretch tickets to the NASCAR races at Texas Motor Speedway. The program also has incentives for the leading teachers and principals, including dinner for two or signature spa treatments at The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway.
The “Speeding To Read” program is supported by a group of generous partners through donations and/or product that consists of Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, Toyota of Fort Worth, Kid’s Beach Club, NASCAR, Press Pass, Inc., Domino’s, The Speedway Club, Score A Goal in the Classroom, Sprint, AAI Trophies and Awards of Plano, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Properties and Elite Embroidery of Keller.
“These sponsors have been critical to our growth and providing numerous perks and incentives for the children to read more frequently,” Zizzo said. “We greatly appreciate their support and the commitment to the children in our local communities through the ‘Speeding To Read’ program. We’re hopeful of adding more sponsors as the reading competition progresses to further enhance the experience for the children.”