Charlotte Checkers star gets middle school students excited about reading

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Charlotte Checkers star Kyle Hagel isn’t scoring goals on the ice, he’s hanging out with students at McClintock Middle School and getting them excited about reading in a program he calls Stick to Reading.

“Make it a habit. It improves your critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and those are skills you’re going to need no matter what path you go down in life,” Hagel said.

Hagel has challenged students for three years to a reading competition with a cool prize. The top 15 readers take on the Checkers in a hockey game in the school gym. The top two win tickets to see the Checkers on the ice.

“He’s like a celebrity or famous person and he’s wanting people to read more because it will lead them to a good place like him,” student Dufie Boateng said.

Principal Mark McHugh said Hagel has taken the Stick to Reading program to classrooms in every place he has played.

“We have a population that can benefit from seeing professional athletes and see them make it to the majors or the pros and how education played a role in their lives,” McHugh said.

Hagel has been named the Checkers’ Man of the Year in the community for three straight seasons.

TV64 is teaming up with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library to help improve literacy across the Carolinas as part of 64U Books for Kids.

People in the community can make sure local kids have books and are constantly working on their reading skills by donating to the 64U Books for Kids Drive. Residents can donate new and gently used books for children and teenagers at any Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library location until April 22.

CLICK HERE for more information or to find a donation location.