For Roughrider Zack Evans – it was Harry Potter.

The defensive lineman can’t get enough of the teenaged wizard from Hogwarts and through Rider Reading Months presented by Conexus he hoped he inspired more kids to find books they love just as much.

“Rider Reading Month was really cool because I got to see a whole bunch of different schools across Saskatchewan. I got to meet a whole bunch of kids who love football and love reading,” Evans said.

The program brings Roughriders right into the classroom to read and play with the kids. Over the last four years more than 1,700 schools have teamed up with the Roughriders to help spark a love of reading in Saskatchewan students.

Evans said when he went into the classrooms some of the students were surprised to hear that despite being a professional football player, he hadn’t stopped reading. He stressed to them that reading will help them in all aspects of their lives.

“I read a nighttime book to my son and then I go read my own book after,” he said. “It helps me (decompress) from social media and TV and all that stuff that takes you away from your own head.” 

Evans is just one of many Roughriders who have had the opportunity to go out into the community to read with children. Others include Dan Clark, Jorgen Hus and Braden Schram.

In total, 42,686 kids have participated.

It’s why Conexus decided to jump on board as the sponsor of the program in 2019, bringing the joy of reading to 5,000 students in 200 classrooms and Roughrider players to 16 schools in nine different communities.

“Conexus is very proud of our relationship with the Roughriders because it provides us with the opportunity to partner on meaningful projects such as the Rider Reading Month,” said Conexus CEO Eric Dillion. “Financial literacy is a critical component of the province’s financial wellbeing and pairing this education with an opportunity for kids to meet their heroes is a natural win for everyone involved.”

Thanks to support from Conexus, Rider Reading Month will continue in March of 2020.

Teachers can sign up their classrooms on the Riderville website starting in February and begin showing us on social media how students are “Riderizing” their reading for a chance to win a classroom visit from one of our players.