The Lower School had an exciting day on Thursday, March 3 celebrating Read Across America, a national initiative to encourage reading among students.
Mystery Readers Part 1
To begin the morning, each grade had surprise guests read to them. Boys in pre-k got a visit from Lower School security officer Kelly Powell and Lower School Director of Academic Support Dr. Jen Schmerling. Kindergarten students heard stories from day porter Daniel Tate and Assistant Director of Community, Inclusion, and Equity Joe Valentine-White. Prep-one through fourth grades welcomed teachers from the grade just beyond their own.
Fifth grade boys heard from some individuals they will see when they move to Middle School next year. Headmaster Henry P. A. Smyth read to one fifth grade class, Middle School librarian Faith Ward read to another, and Head of Middle School Armond Lawson to another.
Lawson talked to the boys about liking nonfiction when he was in fifth grade and later on, biographies. The boys shared the types of stories they like to read: fantasy, history, graphic novels, and realistic fiction. He read from “Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different” by Ben Brooks, a book that gives boys the message that masculinity can mean many things.
Mystery Reader Part 2
Then, boys in pre-kindergarten through first grade gathered in the Stevens Room for the VIP mystery reader. Who would it be? everyone wondered. Before making the big reveal, Head of Lower School Linda Fussell gave the boys three clues: “He has a heart, it’s a man, and I just learned he likes coffee.”
With those purposely imprecise clues, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker emerged from behind the curtain.
Tucker greeted the boys and then read “Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo” by John Lithgow, a book Fussell had chosen for him to read because she knew he likes to sing. For grades two through five, he read “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein.
After the stories, Tucker shared that he started playing football in eighth grade, and he taught himself to play guitar when he was around 13 years old.
He encouraged the boys to try to get a little bit better each day at whatever it is that interests them. “Try your best in school all the time,” he said.
On his way out of the assembly, one kindergartner yelled out a parting message to the special guest: “Bye Justin Tucker, keep kicking those 66-yarders!”