NEA Teams with Atlanta Braves for "Read-in"

Miguel Moran is a longtime baseball fan. The soon-to-be fifth grader says he’s been watching his favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, for his entire ten year life. On Sunday Miguel was rewarded for his dedication – he got to meet three Braves legends as well as a legend of the feline variety at a special “read-in” at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.


“I got to meet the Cat in the Hat and I even gave him a high five!” Moran said. He also met former Atlanta Braves players Terry Harper, CJ Nitkowski, and Sid Bream, who traded in their baseball caps for the Dr. Seuss-style red and white stovepipe hats to read Seuss’s classic tale to a group of Atlanta-area school children.

It was all part of a team effort between the Atlanta Braves and NEA’s Read Across America to host a special read-in, supported by national partner Renaissance Dental, and show kids that reading can be just as much fun as a day at the ballpark.

The reading excitement started at 11:00 on the Homeplate Patio at Turner Field. After the Braves players read The Cat in the Hat, the school children broke up into groups of ten and sat around picnic tables for lunch and more reading with NEA member from around the country now in Atlanta for the 2013 NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly.

Among the volunteers was Dawn Shephard Pope, a high school business and marketing teacher from Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I don’t get to spend as much time with the little ones, so I jumped at the chance to help out with the Read Across America read-in,” she said. “Reading expands your mind so much, and it’s so much fun. You truly are transported to a different world, and I want every student to know the love of reading and to continue their excitement about reading for a lifetime.”

One of the children sitting at Pope’s picnic table, Michael Patrick, said he was very excited about reading.

“You learn more from reading than from anything else I know,” said Patrick, who is eleven but was quick to point out that he turns 12 next month. “It’s important, too, because you never know when someone might ask you to read to your baby brother or sister.”

Patrick should know – he has a younger brother Umeta, 7, and a little sister Destiny, 6, who were both at the read-in as well as their sister Derricka, 10.

The four kids left the read-in with their mother just in time for the start of the national anthem on the field, and as it turned out,  the Cat in the Hat seemed to bring their team a little luck: The Braves scored three homeruns and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6 -2 for a sweep.