CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA)- Clemson Football’s Tiger Read program hosted its 7th annual reading event Wednesday.

From the low country to the upstate, more than 250 first and second graders were there.

Tiger Read was started by coach Dabo Swinney and his wife Kathleen, along with the Clemson University Early Literacy Center, as a part of the All In foundation.

“Reading is so important. It’s probably the first thing, well it is the first thing you learn when you’re in kindergarten, first grade, I mean you’ve already begun to learn to read. It’s just the steppingstone to every other subject,” Kathleen Swinney said.

The goal is to prevent the decline in reading skills that some students experience during the summer when school is not in session.

Teacher at Duncan Elementary, Lindsey Edens said, “They’re all struggling to read when they come in. They can barely write their names some of them, they’re barely reading a first level book.”

Students are given a pack of 10 books to read when they’re out of school.

However, the highlight for a lot of them, is to read along with Clemson football players.

“I really the spark in their eye and I thought this is such a good reinforcer,” Edens said.

Edens says when they see players like DJ Uiagalelei reading, they are encouraged to read.

“They want to be like them, so they see those role models reading, that’s going to be more encouragement for them to continue over the summer,” Edens said

The Swinney’s say they hope this event continues to grow and get better every year.