Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Trevor Hoffman, known as “The Closer” when he pitched for the Padres, was “The Book Opener” this Valentine’s Day at Adams Elementary School. Hoffman read aloud to a to a class of third graders to celebrate The Rolling Readers’ 20th Anniversary. He was joined by basketball legend Bill Walton, as well as other high profile San Diegans. Each sat in a small chair, reading and holding up a picture book for their rapt audience of eight-year-olds.
“I do not like Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them, Sam I am,” said Hoffman, reading from a Dr. Suess classic.
The children chanted their favorite parts right along with him.
The Rolling Readers recruits volunteers to read picture books 30 minutes a week to the same grade school class every week. They also give each child a brand new book twice a year. Hoa Quach, chairperson of the event, joined the Rolling Readers because she has fond memories of being in the program as a child at Fletcher Elementary.
“I still have the book they gave me,” she said. It was “I’ll Take You to Mrs. Cole.”
Quach never forgot the Rolling Reader who came to her classroom every week when she was little. She was thrilled to be reunited with her beloved Mrs. Baghley when she joined the organization.
NPR White House Correspondent and former KPBS Reporter Scott Horsley was a Rolling Reader for 13 years. He listed his reasons for going back to an elementary school every Friday morning:
“It gave me an excuse to do funny voices. It gave me instant feedback, which you don't get from talking on the radio. It let me re-read some of my favorite books from childhood, and discover new ones. For example, I was the first grownup on my block to read Harry Potter. It let me play Santa Claus several times a year during the book giveaways. And once in a while I got the feeling that I'd made a small, positive difference for a child,” he said.