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Kings come to First Street School

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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It’s not every day that First Street School students have their evening stories read to them by Kings but that’s what happened on March 5. The school’s multi-purpose room was packed that night with about 150 students, parents and teachers listening to team players Donte Greene and Rashad McCants read books. “What an exciting way to promote literacy,” said Taryn Gordon, a kindergarten teacher. “It’s awesome. It really is amazing.” The players’ visit to the school was part of the Kings’ “Read to Achieve” program, in conjunction with First Street School’s Family Reading Night. The National Basketball Association’s Read to Achieve program helps 50-million children annually develop a lifelong love of reading and encourages adults to read to children, according to the NBA Web site. “It’s my second time doing Read to Achieve,” Greene said. “It’s always fun. It’s good just to give back to the community.” When he was growing up, Greene added, NBA players did not visit his schools. Greene started by sharing Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to students sitting attentively on the floor. McCants read Becky Bloom’s “Wolf.” “It’s a good way to just keep kids interested in education,” McCants said. “Education is huge.” After the Kings were done with the books, the students asked questions. One student asked the players how tall they were and Greene’s answer was 6 feet, 10 inches. McCants answered 6 feet, 4 inches. Another student asked where they are from (McCants said North Carolina and Greene said Syracuse University). One kindergartener, Jeffrey Peck, raised his hand and said that he really liked hearing the Kings. “They read good,” Jeffrey said, adding that he liked getting his picture taken with his class and the two athletes. Fifth-grader Tanner Dean said he was very excited to hopefully to get an autograph. “I liked the Dr. Seuss book and the Kings,” said third-grader Yoselin Rodriguez. Fourth-grader Hailey Tetrick, wearing a jersey featuring former King’s Mike Bibby, said she’d never seen a team player in person before. “I liked having them read to us,” Hailey said, adding that she has never been to a Kings game but has seen them on TV. First Street teachers were also pleased to have the Kings at school. “I think it’s extremely positive for the Kings to come in and basically be role models for the kids and show them the importance of reading,” said Maricela Recendez, a fourth- grade teacher at First Street School. Each child was also given a book, courtesy of Read to Achieve. The students chose from books about superheroes and Spongebob Squarepants. “I think this was really great for the kids,” said Principal Rubén Ayala. “They’ve been talking about it for a couple of days, and any time you get a professional athlete out to read to the kids, it’s great.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.