“It’s a lot of fun and it’s really exciting as it builds on a relationship we’ve had with the Dolphins for a number of years,” said Raymond Santiago, the director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. “To have the players come and read to the kids and really inspire the kids is special. They talk about the importance of reading for all ages and that it helped them become what they are.”
Bess, Fields and Mrs. Scott each took a turn reading to the group of kids gathered for the event, with Bess being asked to read the shortest book – “I Had A Dragon” – after Mrs. Scott read the longest one – “The Grouchy Ladybug.” Fields made up for a bit of a stumble when he got on stage by reading a book about a colorblind chameleon.
For Bess, the father of two young children, he truly enjoyed the experience, and not just because he had the easiest book to read. He shared with the kids the story of how his mother wouldn’t let him play outside unless he finished his chores and read for at least 30 minutes.
“This is a great program and this is an honor to be here with the Governor’s wife,” Bess said. “I think this is a phenomenal reading program that they have to make it possible for kids to come out during summer and be able to read. It’s one of the lost things out there in this world with the kids playing with the iPads and computers and not doing enough reading.”
Bess likes to read Dr. Seuss books to his own children and really engaged the kids at the library by showing them all of the pictures in the book he read. Fields gave his teammate credit because he thought it was tougher to have to deal with more pictures than words.
For Fields, this wasn’t his first rodeo when it came to the Summer Reading Program, but he takes it very seriously. The fact that Mrs. Scott was there with them added a little pressure but Fields delivered.
“To have the kids see that there are people that are older that read and that it’s not just an elementary school or grade school thing is important,” Fields said. “When you’re done with school you can still enjoy reading and for us to sit down and read a book or two for them was enjoyable for both of us.”
Bess had arguably the most important message to deliver after the kids moved onto a magic show and then a pizza lunch courtesy of Papa John’s.
“It’s very important, especially at a young age, just to get the mind working,” he said. “You’re still young and in the developmental stages of growing into who you are, so it’s important to let the mind work and pretty much stay out of trouble. It carries over into whatever you want to do, whether you’re playing sports or being a doctor or lawyer, you’re going to have to read in one form or another, so you want to start at a young age and develop skills then.”