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Russell Reading

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He used to play for the Miami Dolphins, now this team player is helping coach kids to better their education through reading. 7's Lynn Martinez shows us in today's Parent to Parent.

WSVN -- From soccer to baseball and even football. You could say it's a challenge to get Alex Rodriguez to sit still for a minute, especially when it came to picking up a book.

Parent Catalina Rodriguez: "Reading wasn't his favorite subject to do but he did it because he had to."

However, all that changed when Alex met Twan Russell, a former Miami Dolphins linebacker, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale's inner city.

Twan Russell: "First time I picked up a ball, I think I was born with one."

Twan's parents were both teachers. He quickly learned the importance of an education and went to University of Miami on a scholarship.

Twan Russell: "It allowed me to be a man and taught me a lot of things I know now."

While playing for the NFL, he realized a lot of families were like his.

Twan Russell: "You have working parents who are just trying to put food on the table, pay the bills."

So, he and his mom started The Russell Life Skills & Reading Foundation. The after school and summer literacy program gives that extra attention kids need to boost their reading and comprehension skills.

Twan Russell: "All you have enough energy to do is feed them, get them off to bed and they just need someone to help stand in the gaps, someone to help them with their homework."

Kids like Alex, get one on one time with a teacher, giving them the confidence they need to get ahead.

Twan Russell: "Then they feel good about themselves, they volunteer to read..."

After taking part in the program, Alex loves to read.

Alex: "I would always practice every day."

His mom says his reading level jumped by two grades.

Catalina Rodriguez: "By the time he was done with the school year and done with the Russell Reading Program he was at a third grade level."

Twan says it's all about encouraging kids to reach for the stars.

Twan Russell: "That spawns something great that comes out of him, that leads him to the desire to want to learn."

Lynn Martinez: The program has been expanded to include math and science.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The Russell Life Skills & Reading Foundation:
9112 West State Road 84
Davie, FL 33324
Tel: (954) 921-3787
www.russellreadingroom.com

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