3rd & Goal: Carolina Panthers launch program to encourage young kids to read more

Credit: Carolina Panthers 

Less than 50 percent of all 1st through 3rd graders are reading at grade level in North Carolina, according to a Performance and Growth Study by North Carolina Public Schools. In South Carolina, it's even less at just over 44 percent. 

In response to this disheartening statistic, the Carolina Panthers launched a program this fall called the “3rd & Goal Read Along” video series

The program is designed to encourage a love of reading for students in K-3 with the goal of helping students develop grade-level reading proficiency skills by the end of third grade. 

The series features Panthers players, like Luke Kuechly, Chris Manhertz, Graham Gano, and Rashaan Gaulden, as well as special guests reading popular Scholastic book titles in a fun “read along” style for students to follow.

WATCH THE CAROLINA PANTHERS 3RD & GOAL READ ALONG SERIES 

"The Carolina Panthers are grateful to program partners Scholastic, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, South Carolina Board of Education and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for their valued assistance," they said in a released statement. 

The best part? The videos are a free resource for classroom teachers and parents.