On a playing field Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee's (FASANOC) Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Champions are some of the most committed athletes you will ever find and are used to showing off their athletic abilities.
Now these Champions are taking that commitment and not just their athletic skills, but their reading skills and giving back to the next generation of athletes in Primary Schools through what is being calledthe Reading Like a Champion initiative.
VOA Co-ordinator,Jeegar Bhavsar, said that the initiative was part of a new programme being implemented by Jeremy Dorovolomo of USP and the St Annes Primary School, which used sport as a tool for promoting a reading culture and ultimately the students’ education. He said that the initiative
focused on building reading skills and confidence of school students.
"It is a project whereby we use athletes who have represented the country and are seen as role models to read story books to students," he said.
In an eight week pilot project at St Annes Primary School, FASANOC's VOA Champions will be reading to Year Three school students in an effort to make reading as interesting and fun as possible.
VOA Co-ordinator Jeegar Bhavsar said, "Last week we started with Team Fiji Football Champion Naomi Waqanidrola and this week we have Team Fiji Hockey Champion Tessa Harman."
"FASANOC's VOA Champions are taking part in this for the first time and we would like to continue this project with other schools as well."
Year Three Teacher Mrs Koroi said the programme really boosted the reading skills of the students.
"Our students look forward to the reading sessions and they enjoy it every time," she said.
MrsKoroi said with a class roll of 55 students, reading as a group was challenging.
"But through this initiative, our students have grown more confident to read together as a group.
"It is also exciting to have a Champion come and read to our students," she said.
Mrs Koroi said the initiative is expected to carry on to the third term.