Book club combines b-ball with reading

Former Toronto District School Board trustee Patrick Rutledge is bringing his Big League Book Club to Ledbury Park Public School.

The grassroots program encourages boys to read, while earning a chance to play basketball and meet a Toronto Raptors superstar.

The group’s Raptors liaison is DeMar Derozan and the resulting Big League Book Club/DeMar Derozan Slam Dunk Book Club gets under way Feb. 8 at Ledbury.

Big League is to run every Saturday to May 10. The only exceptions are the Saturdays during March Break (March 8 and 15) and Easter Saturday.

Students in grades 1–6 from 30 TDSB schools are invited to three of the camps at Ledbury Elementary Middle School, Rawlinson Community School and North Kipling Junior Middle School.

Sessions for grades 1–3 run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Sessions for grades 4–6 run from noon to 2:30 p.m. There’s room for 50 kids in each session.

In each class, kids are taught the game of basketball, and take part in a houseleague program. But there is a caveat: 30 minutes from every class is spent reading in a team environment, and the kids are expected to do book reports.

The benefits of completing book reports, and good attendance and behaviour are a chance to play basketball, win prizes and attend one of five Raptors games in a private booth purchased by Derozan. It’s there where 18 little hoopsters have a chance to meet the team’s star guard.

The Town Crier is official media sponsor.

“There are so many kids that go to Ledbury that come from the Lawrence Heights area that we know those kids would benefit from the program,” he said.

When original Raptors liaison Chris Bosh left for Miami, Rutledge found himself looking for another star pivot to encourage the kids to read, and provide sporting advice. He found himself impressed with the character of Derozan, who was coming out of the University of Southern California.

“The reason why he was leaving school a year early to enter the draft was because his mother had lupus, and he wanted to be able to financially look after her.,” Rutledge said. “So when the Raptors drafted him he was the perfect fit.”

About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Feb 4 2014 9:44 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto