Inequities in education have always existed and a critical factor of economic and social success is who gets the opportunity to read.

The COVID-19 crisis and disruption of learning in schools has exacerbated and dramatically expanded the reading gap. Normally, close to 70% of kids struggle to get to the appropriate reading level by third grade.

Many experts agree this number could climb by 20% in 2020 and 2021, something that will delay and challenge learning long term as these students shift into grades where they are expected to read to learn, not learn to read. Virtual learning has created immediate challenges for parents and teachers but reading delays could cause a more impactful crisis that could span an entire generation of kids.

Cox wants to help raise awareness of this issue, particularly during Covid-19, through Cox Campus; a free online learning platform and community bringing together 150,000 members from 50 states and 68 countries.

Dedicated to the science of language and literacy to empower educators and families, Cox Campus is made possible through an investment by the James M. Cox Foundation. Over the past six years, the James M. Cox Foundation’s support helped with the cost of development, technology, hosting and maintenance of the virtual “campus” as a free resource for teachers and parents to help all children master reading and language skills.

In this interview, you’ll meet our spokesperson; children’s book author, former star football player and literacy expert Malcolm Mitchell.

During his freshman year in college, Malcolm developed a love of reading.

Initially, reading was a challenge, however, through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity and learning.  Among Malcolm’s numerous awards and accomplishments both on and off the field, he considers discovering a love of reading one of his greatest achievements.

Malcolm will share his story to viewers and offer up some quick tips and free resources available for parents and teachers that can dramatically mitigate reading delays and slow the percolating crisis.


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As a high school senior, Malcolm Mitchell was an Under Armour All-American and went on to finish in the top ten all time receivers during his playing career at the University of Georgia (UGA).

Malcolm Mitchell, a 2015 University of Georgia graduate and former football player, is the founder of Reading with Malcolm, a youth literacy initiative that helps young students in underserved communities with literacy..(Photo/Taylor Carpenter) Courtesy The Red and Black

In May 2016, Malcolm was drafted by the New England Patriots, and in February 2017 he became a Super Bowl Champion.

Courtesy 247 Sports

While a student athlete, Malcolm was recognized as the National Captain of the Allstate Good Works Team for his frequent visits to elementary schools to read to students and talk about literacy, the first student ever at UGA to win this Honor. He also received the National Haier Achievement Award for his success beyond athletics.

In 2015, Malcolm authored and published a children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat” and created a youth literacy initiative called Read with Malcolm.

In 2016, he went on to establish a 501c3 organization, Share the Magic Foundation with a sole purpose: to transform children’s lives through literacy. Share the Magic Foundation’s mission is to inspire young people to read by bringing book ownership to students in Title I schools and under-resourced communities.

Since its founding, the Foundation has placed books in the hands of more than 65,000 young readers and provided Read with Malcolm Literacy programing to over 200,000 students.

Malcolm’s inspirational story has been featured nationally on CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS Sports, ESPN, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC and the NFL Network and has been used by many schools as encouragement for students to embrace the importance of reading.

For more information and free reading resources and tips for parents and teachers, visit: or Read With


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