Pershing Hill hosts first celebrity guest reader day
April 6, 2007
Baltimore Ravens cornerback David Pittman paid a visit to Pershing Hill Elementary school on Fort Meade Friday to participate in celebrity guest reader day.
Pittman, Installation Commander Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy his wife LeAnn and Debbie Alexander, spouse of Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, all joined in the event to help motivate students to read.
"This is our first celebrity reading day," said Robin Parker, reading teacher at the school. "We do have guest reader day at Pershing Hill four times a year, but we thought it would be neat to invite celebrities, so we tried to get as many people into our school as possible. We hope this won't be the last one, we would like to make it an annual event."
Celebrity guest readers read to children in grades first through fifth. When they were finished reading the book they took questions from the children.
"What does a quarterback do'" one student asked Pittman. Before the NFL's 2006 third-round draft pick could respond, the student answered his own question. Needless to say, Margaret Green's first-grade class was excited to have an NFL player read "A Penguin 1 Pup for Pinkerton" by Steven Kellogg.
"I met a football player," said first-grader Gabe vonHoldt. "He was very nice and he read a funny story and he is a good reader and he taught me about football."
Football lessons weren't the only thing the Northwestern State, La. graduate provided.
"We have guest reader days to provide role models for our students in reading," Parker said. "We know that students are highly motivated by sports figures and we want to make the connection between sports and reading. It's good for the students to see other adults besides their teachers reading. It provides good oral language and good vocabulary models. Books are excellent sources of vocabulary more than the spoken language, more than watching TV or reading game directions."
Celebrity reader day wasn't only a great opportunity for the students, it was also fun for the celebrities.
"I enjoyed it a lot," Pittman said. "I love just about anything that is interacting with younger kids. Some of it is giving back to the community but I just do it out of the joy in my heart."
This may not be the only time that Pershing Hill Elementary will see a Baltimore Raven.
"I am actually going to talk to some of the guys when I get back and tell them how much I enjoyed today and see if I can persuade them into doing this," he said.