Power of reading compelled Corey Peters to start high school book club

May 17, 2020, 4:17 PM | Updated: 4:18 pm
Corey Peters holding an in-person book club. (Photo courtesy Arizona Cardinals)...
Corey Peters holding an in-person book club. (Photo courtesy Arizona Cardinals)
(Photo courtesy Arizona Cardinals)

Regular reading maybe started for Corey Peters with the “Goosebumps” series and it wasn’t a first love. Growing up, the Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle remembers his parents asking him to read 30 minutes to an hour every day during the summers.

He didn’t necessarily like it and didn’t begin reading for enjoyment until adulthood. Now, it’s become a passion project.

“I think it’s a huge tie-in with the education system,” Peters said Friday on a Zoom call. “I think kids that can read better have more success. They’re more confident.

“If you can read, you’re able to teach yourself anything.”

Promoting reading is something that he’s doing more of these days.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Peters announced Thursday that he was expanding his student book club into a virtual setting. The Corey Peters Playbook, which began as bi-weekly meetings with students from South Pointe High School and South Pointe Elementary, will move online and be open to any Arizona high school students (interested students can register for the Zoom meetings by filling out a form at this link).

Peters hopes the virtual club can teach a broader group of members a few lessons that might translate into their own lives.

“I get a lot out of it as well,” Peters said, adding he loves finding books that offer ways for self-improvement. “I’m always so impressed by the kids and their points of views, the ideas that they come up with. The way they phrase things is always very interesting to me.”

The books and the discussions in the club will touch on current events and topical subjects.

Peters’ first club meeting had students read Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give,” which challenges racial and class divides from the perspective of a high school student. Upcoming on the list is “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork, a novel in which a boy with an undiagnosed cognitive disorder interns at a law firm upon his father’s determination to make him experience “the real world.”

As a moderator, Peters said his job is to keep conversations civil and to promote understanding between students who might disagree.

What can be learned from that, Peters said, can be applied to his gig as a professional football player — or any job.

“… Guys are from everywhere, all types of people from all parts of the country, all personality types,” Peters said of the NFL locker room. “The conversations we have in there, we try to not get too deep, but sometimes guys disagree and you hear other peoples’ perspectives. And you don’t have to agree, but what that’s taught me is tolerance and understanding that just because I disagree with this person at a certain level doesn’t mean we can’t work together and be friends and all these things.

“That’s what I hope for the kids.”

He also hopes the students who join the club don’t view reading as a chore.

Peters remembers realizing the importance of reading in his college days at Kentucky, when he saw teammates lack confidence in the classroom. He believed that started with their lack of confidence in their own ability to read. Sometimes, Peters noticed otherwise smart guys falling behind in the classroom or struggling to have in-depth conversations about topics outside of football.

He feels lucky his parents pushed him to take up reading from an early age.

“As I got older and I spend time traveling now, I started to read more,” Peters said. “My favorite thing about reading is that you can experience so much just from your imagination. Often times we read books and they make those books into movies — I always like the books better because it allows your imagination to kind of fill in the blanks and make it your own story in a way.”

Peters’ love of reading isn’t restricted to his foundation’s educational work.

He tries to share literature with Cardinals teammates, whether they are avid readers or not.

“We talk about books a lot,” Peters said. “Instead of spending money on gifts, I try to find a book that is thoughtful that I think this person might like and (help) give back to them.

“I don’t know if they read those books or not, but they have them.”

Life Changer Loans
character counts

Character Counts is a registered trademark of the Josephson Institute.

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) sets back to pass during the first half of an NFL ...
Arizona Sports

Behind Enemy Lines: Panthers pass game still a concern before facing Cardinals

While the Panthers finally got their first victory of the season with a win over the Saints, the passing game remains a major issue.
20 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, center, stands on the sidelines during the second hal...
Jordan Leandre

Football Outsiders down on Arizona Cardinals turning season around

The Arizona Cardinals will be without support from Football Outsiders in their quest to right the ship after a 1-2 start to the season.
20 hours ago
Defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence #90 of the Arizona Cardinals lines up during the NFL game at Stat...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence undergoes hand surgery

Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence is out for Week 4 after undergoing hand surgery for an injury suffered in the team's Week 3 loss to the Rams.
20 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray reiterates need for pass catchers to stay locked in

Given Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's ability to make things happen on the fly, his receivers must remain focused throughout each play.
20 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Alex Weiner

Cardinals’ WR depth continues to be tested, Kingsbury confident in group

The Arizona Cardinals were down to four active wide receivers in the second half of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury: ‘We have to figure out exactly who we are’

The Arizona Cardinals rolled out another inconsistent showing offensively in a Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
2 days ago
Power of reading compelled Corey Peters to start high school book club