His job as a quarterback is to survey the field, read the defense and make the best decision.

On Tuesday Arizona Cardinal John Skelton did one type of reading, and those in attendance considered it to be a great decision.

The 22-year-old Skelton read to about 40 second-grade students at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School to promote reading inside and outside the classroom.

"My mom was a teacher for 19 years so I know how important it is," he said. "To start reading early, it's a great way to get ahead in life."

Second-grade teacher Rachel Adamick applied to the Cardinals organization to have a player come and read, but said she forgot about it until they called.

"I was really shocked when the call came," she said. "It was definitely a surprise. We are honored to have (Skelton) here to promote reading."

The roomful of kids and a handful of adults and teachers listened to Skelton read for about 30 minutes. He read several different books, including Where the Wild Things Are, and kept the kids involved and asked them questions throughout.

Skelton's visit is just one of many ways that Kyrene schools promote reading.

To combat deficiencies, they have a literacy coach that provides tutoring to students who fall behind.

Each school monitors their kindergarten through fifth-grade students in three categories: phonics, fluency and comprehension. During this time, students are assessed three times per year in those three categories. If a student falls behind they meet with the literacy coach for extra reading help.

The key, according to Adamick, is to have the kids find something they are interested in reading.

"We keep a wide variety of books in classrooms and at the library," she said. "If we can find something they can get excited about, that's what we really want."

And having a professional football player, along with the mascot Big Red, talk about how important reading is certainly helps as well.

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