Castro, wife begin initiative for literacy

Castro, wife begin initiative for literacy

HOUSTON -- Astros catcher Jason Castro and his wife, Maris, will kick off their multifaceted initiative, Castro's Kids, at 12:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, 3003 W. Holcombe in Houston, during the annual "Name That Book Red Carpet Event."

The Castros, in conjunction with the Houston Independent School District, are providing books and incentives to encourage students to embrace literacy. Both attended Stanford University.

"Maris and I couldn't be more dedicated and excited to launch Castro's Kids," Jason said. "We attribute not only meeting each other, but many of the opportunities we have been given throughout our lives, to education. By promoting literacy in the Houston school districts, we hope to make an impact in the area that we are proud to call our home."

Nearly 20 years ago, the "Name That Book" contest was created to increase students' interest in reading and introduce them to award-winning books from a variety of genres. The district-wide competition is set to begin on Saturday, when Jason and Maris will be making a special appearance. In addition, the couple will be donating funds to the contest on behalf of Castro's Kids, which will be matched by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

To encourage summer reading, Castro's Kids has partnered with Better World Books, and will be giving 5,600 books to three schools in the district to support their summer reading platform. Twenty-five students from the school with the highest increase in summer reading participation will win an all-expenses paid trip to an Astros game and other Astros memorabilia.

The Astros will hold a book drive at Minute Maid Park on June 29-30, when the team faces the Angels. The books collected from that weekend will be distributed throughout the HISD during the upcoming school year.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.