Parents and teachers have a massive, daily influence on children’s educations, but on Tuesday the kindergartners at Greystone Elementary got an extra boost from two members of the Thunder.
Forwards DeAndre Liggins and Hollis Thompson visited Chelsea Whithorn’s kindergarten class to read a book as a part of the Thunder Reading Time Out, presented by American Fidelity Assurance Company. The five-and-six-year olds listened intently as the duo alternated pages in the children’s basketball-themed book, “J is for Jumpshot”. Each page featured a letter of the alphabet and a basketball term associated with the corresponding letter, along with an accompanying poem.
This was the first time Whithorn’s class had a guest reader come to their room this year, so it was a very special event for both her and her students, particularly because the Thunder duo expressed the importance of reading to the kids.
“It is such a huge blessing for my kids and me,” Whithorn said. “My class focuses a lot on coming to school to grow our brains and work hard and make our dreams come true. To have that role model and see someone who has made their dream come true, and tell them that you have to work hard, that’s so much more powerful than just me telling them that they have to work hard at school.”
By the time Thompson was finished reading that “Z” is for “Zone”, the students were clamoring to start the question-and-answer session. The kids asked the pair of Thunder players questions ranging from their favorite kids book to how hard they had to work to make it to the NBA. Next, the class took group photos and recited the Reading Pledge, an oath from each student to commit to reading both at home and at school.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the afternoon was saved until the finale, when Liggins and Thompson handed out a hardcover copy of the children’s classic, “Clifford the Big Red Dog” to each student. They chatted with the kids and spoke with the teachers, and once the afternoon was through, it was clear that the Thunder visit to Greystone Elementary was a treat for the students and faculty alike.
“It has meant so much to me, and I think it will have lasting impacts on my kids,” Whithorn said.