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Rockers join LEAP to pitch reading

By: Cinde Ingram

HIGH POINT — Oak Hill Elementary students became the city’s first to kick off the Rock’n Read program on Monday morning.

Nearly 500 pre-K through fifth-grade students bumped fists or hugged High Point Rockers’ mascot Hype after they collected a new book from a local author and learned how to win prizes for reading through the professional baseball team’s partnership with High Point LEAP.

“We’re celebrating Read Across America, also Dr. Seuss’s birthday,” said Principal Candice Bailey. “Reading is so essential and so important to everything that we do.”

Most of the students in Oak Hill’s gymnasium responded by raising their hands when asked if they had read anything by Dr. Seuss or liked to read.

Third-grade student Lake Powell, who wants to become a police officer, said learning to read is important “so you can do other things when you’re grown up.”

Author Julia Ebel said she had never met an author when she was their age, but she learned to write about real people, such as the ones in the “Picture Man” book she gave the students to take home with them. She supplied hints, but told the students they would find out more by reading the book.

“You have stories of your own to tell,” Ebel said. “The good news is we learn from all those things that happen in our lives. Your stories are important, and I hope you will find ways to share stories.”

The students received a Rock’n Read log to keep track of the number of minutes they read in order to win prizes and tickets to pick up at BB&T Point stadium on Gatewood Avenue. Each minute read helps advance Hype toward the next base and can add up to extra free tickets. “Everybody here has a chance to win free tickets to come see the Rockers and to come see Hype — all you have to do is read,” said Susan Ormond, High Point Rockers director of ticket sales. “We want to see all your smiling faces at the ballpark this summer.”

Students who read enough to get to third base (more than 800 minutes) can be on the field to throw out a first pitch at the Rockers game on June 10.

In addition to building excitement, Bailey said she hopes the Rock’n Read effort will motivate students to want to read more at home.

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