Visits with children as part of the WNBA's Fast Break to Reading program

Deanna Nolan Hits the Books

Oh, the places you will go - by reading, that is, was the theme of Deanna Nolan’s visit with 50 children as a part of the WNBA’s Fast Break to Reading program. On Monday, Nolan read to students from the Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library and Orchard’s Children’s Services at the Pitney Bowes headquarters in Farmington.

Nolan has participated in several school-themed programs since her arrival in the WNBA. In 2002, she headed up the Shock's "Student for a Day" program, where she imparted the importance of education to students in schools throughout southeast Michigan.

“I loved school,” Nolan said. “Reading, math, I loved doing that. If no one told me (to study), I’d do it myself!”

Math was her favorite subject. “I’m just good with numbers,” she boasted. “I could have a million numbers in my head.. I can see something once and remember it!”

Nolan added she’d rarely had someone to read with her as a child. “(Reading) let me understand that there are good things in life as far as going in the right direction.”

The right direction for Nolan meant returning to the University of Georgia after completing her rookie season to obtain her degree in child and family development.

“It’s a big accomplishment especially if you’re the only one, or one of very few, in your family to actually go to college and get that degree. It was just something that I wanted to do, to fall back on after basketball.”

After signing autographs and helping hand out books and t-shirts to the children, Nolan invited Jaylen Woodley, 8, from Southfield, to help her read aloud “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.

“Of course you’re going to have obstacles in your life,” said Nolan, describing Seuss’ classic. “That kind of hinted to me personally (about not) straying off. As long as you stay on the right path, you’ll be ok.”

As a child, Nolan found puzzle books and sports books entertaining. Her choice of reading now?

“I always have to get a USA Today so I can do the crossword puzzle section. Every day, I have to have one!”

The Detroit Shock is one of 10 WNBA teams participating in the program, which encourages young people to read, with a goal of logging 1 million minutes of reading. The WNBA and Pitney Bowes launched the program at the beginning of the season in June, with each team collaborating with an area literacy organization. At the end of July, youth nationwide had collectively totaled more than 500,000 minutes, halfway to the goal.