City leaders share love of reading at Lincoln School

Lincoln Elementary hosts Read-A-Thon

By Keith Edwards (Kennebec Journal)

AUGUSTA — City Councilor Darek Grant was sent back to the second grade Tuesday as one of 37 local community and civic leaders reading to Lincoln Elementary School students as part of the school’s winter Read-A-Thon.

After reading aloud from ‘Hoot,’ by Carl Hiaasen, Augusta City Manager Bill Bridgeo talks to sixth-graders about his love of reading books on Tuesday morning at Lincoln School in Augusta.

It was Grant’s second turn at second grade at the school. He attended Lincoln School himself, entering the second grade there the same year the building opened.

“I remember being in this room,” Grant said before reading “I Met a Moose in Maine One Day,” by author Ed Shankman to teacher Kendra Lakeman’s class of
second-graders. “I don’t remember ever being this small.”

Sixth-grade teacher Lisa Beede, an organizer of the event, said the Read-A-Thon will take place through February and is meant to promote reading and literacy among students. The program also raises funds for student activities such as class trips and the sixth-grade step-up celebration through pledges to sponsor student readers.

Grant said he appreciated the opportunity to read to students and to encourage them to read. Participants included city councilors, an assistant district attorney, principals from other city schools, and other state and local officials. Other guest readers were scheduled to appear Tuesday but were being rescheduled to other days because of bad weather.

City Manager William Bridgeo read part of “Hoot,” by Carl Hiaasen, a novel Beede’s sixth-graders are reading as part of lessons on the environment. Earlier, he read to second-graders.

“I’m not going to read the second grade stuff to this group,” Bridgeo said of the sixth-graders. “They’d revolt.”

Acting Mayor Patrick Paradis, who described himself as a major John F. Kennedy buff, read “Meet John F. Kennedy,” by Nancy Bean White, to sixth-graders. Paradis said he chose that subject because Kennedy’s inauguration as president was 50 years ago last month.

Many guest readers praised students for their good behavior and attentiveness.

Beede said she was amazed at how willing and excited guest readers were when asked to come read. She said many even practiced in advance, so they’d be ready to maintain the kids’ attention.

The reading event was sponsored by the Lincoln School Parent Teacher Committee.

“Baxter the library cat,” an adult-sized fuzzy character who encourages children statewide to read, also visited during the event.

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