Why should we read? Chancellor Christ and Cal running back discuss

Cal running back Patrick Laird sat down with Chancellor Carol Christ to talk about the pair’s shared love of reading. (UC Berkeley video by Cal Athletics)

UC Berkeley senior running back Patrick Laird recently sat down with Chancellor Carol Christ to talk about their shared love of reading. Christ, of course, is a respected expert on Victorian literature, and Laird is such a well-known bookworm that he often mimes reading during touchdown celebrations.

The topic of their tete-a-tete was Laird’s program to encourage summer reading among elementary school students. Kids who enrolled through Laird’s website and read enough books — a total of four books read by first and second graders and six books for third through sixth graders — won four free tickets to Cal football’s season opener against North Carolina tomorrow.

Laird, a business administration and political science major who will graduate at the end of the fall semester, told Berkeley News in June that he “wanted to do something positive and something I’m passionate about. For me, that means education and reading.” Laird pitched his challenge in classrooms across the Bay Area, and some 3,600 students signed up. Many are expected to attend tomorrow’s game, where they’ll sit in section L and LL.

Christ, who says she’s an avid reader of fiction, said she was so pleased when she heard about Laird’s program.

“I was so thrilled by the fact that it was available to any kid, and that there was a really attractive reward connected to it, and a reward that was for the whole family,” Christ said in the video.

The pair then swapped book recommendations and talked about the importance of reading. More information about Laird’s program is available on his website.