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April 7, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – Members of the South Carolina women’s basketball team visited with students at Meadowfield Elementary School this week after Meadowfield Elementary won the “Let’s Read With The Gamecocks” promotion for the seventh consecutive year.

The “Let’s Read With The Gamecocks” competition is a program created to generate interest in reading among elementary age students by rewarding them for how many pages they have read both individually and as a school.

When asked if he thought the reading competition motivated him to read more, third-grader Anderson Pollard said “Yes, I actually started to buy books with my allowance,” then with a huge smile added “it was weird.”

The top readers from each class got to participate in a scrimmage against the team. During the scrimmages the children went wild as they cheered on their classmates. It was all smiles as students like second-grader Mathew Campbell scored basket after basket against the Gamecocks. Mathew read 1,141 pages making him the top reader in his class. Another top reader was third grader Mario Smith who read 720 pages.

“Reading is important because it teaches you your vocabulary,” Smith said. When the students were asked if they had a good time meeting the team the answer was a resounding “YES!”

With the help of schools like Meadowfield, this year’s program was a huge success with over one million pages getting read by students across Columbia.

Each year the students that are involved in the program are invited to a South Carolina women’s basketball game and are featured at halftime with winners receiving prizes such as books and various Gamecock-related items. In addition, members of the Carolina women’s basketball team visit the winning school to commemorate its accomplishment.

During the Gamecocks’ visit to Meadowfield Elementary, students were able to scrimmage with the players, participate in the chant the Gamecocks perform before every game and get autographs. The Carolina players in attendance were Demetress Adams, Stacy Booker, Brionna Dickerson, Lauren Falohun, Shannel Harris, Lakesha Tolliver, Illona Burgrova and Ebony Jones.