Houston, Hollingsworth Show the Fun of Reading

As the page turned and the wolf in the story got ready to try and blow down its third house and leave a third little piggie homeless, Prowl was rearing up for the big finale. He had already dropped dead as a doorknob, let out two vicious sneezes that sent the children at the Blaisdell YMCA into smiles of delight and even broken a sugar cup as he desperately tried to portray the "Big Bad" Wolf's frustration over his piggy neighbors unfriendliness.

Not even Charde Houston knew what to expect as she turned the page.

When Prowl let out a small patter of a sneeze at the story's climax, the children -- and even Houston -- could not help but laugh.

It was an extremely happy day at the Blaisdell YMCA on Tuesday as Lynx All-Star forward Charde Houston, radio voice Alan Horton and mascot Prowl read "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs" to about 30 children as part of the team's Read to Achieve Program. Quanitra Hollingsworth joined Prowl and Horton at the Minneapolis Children's Hospital for a second reading on Wednesday. The Reading Time Out featured a question and answer session with the players and the kids and the opportunity to win prizes for answering questions about the story they had just heard.

The dramatic interpretation from Prowl certainly helped with that.

"It was very energetic and enthusiastic," Houston said. "But overall I think it was just to see them having fun when Prowl falls and sneezes and things like that , just to know how much reading can bring joy to kids' lives. Reading doesn't have to be something that's boring or not enthusiastic or something that kids shouldn't enjoy doing or looking forward to."

Houston said it may take someone with her notoriety or a character like Prowl to help children understand how important reading is. Houston tried to show the children that knowing how to read is important to finding success. Hollingsworth said she just hopes that the children had a good time and enjoyed themselves while listening to the story.

That message certainly translated as children at the Blaisdell YMCA left the Reading Time Out and went straight to new books after Houston and Prowl gave away bookmarks and posters and signed autographs.

"Number one they get the influence of reading and just reminded that it's important in their life even as an athlete such as Charde," said Noah Mammen, who works in Youth Development at the Blaisdell YMCA. "It's important that they hear that from people who aren't necessarily making a living in something that they would be reading. It's important that they do understand how important reading is just in general whether it be reading the morning paper or reading a good book at the end of the night."

Reading will be important as the students prepare for school to start in the coming weeks. Seeing a basketball star like Houston, who one could think would not necessarily need reading, espouse how vitally important reading is could be a huge influence on the kids.

"You have to understand that anything you do in life requires reading and it's very very difficult if you don't know how to read," Houston said. "Just to see the position that I'm in and the opportunity that comes along with being educated. It's not just reading, it's math, science and everything as a whole and going to school and paying attention and trying to learn as much as you can because reading and education in general opens up so many doors."

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