Being the mayor of the city of Portsmouth is a busy job, but that did not stop Portsmouth Mayor Kevin E. Johnson from stopping in at Temple Tots Daycare to read to the children there.
Temple Tots had been celebrating Dr. Seuss Week, in conjunction with Read Across America Day, and on Friday, the children got a surprise visitor as Johnson came to spend time with them and read them a story. Johnson has a son, Kohen, who attends Temple Tots, but that is not the reason he was there. He was there representing the City of Portsmouth as mayor and sharing some of his time with the little ones.
Immediately after the mayor entered the room, the children greeted him with a hello and wanted to hug him. One little girl, in particular, could not be stopped as she gave him a big hug around the legs and he was so gracious to give her a hug back. The teachers at Temple Tots then had all the children sit on the floor and Johnson sat in a chair in front of them. Caroline King, Temple Tots Director was appreciative to have Johnson come to read to the group of children. She introduced him to the children and then let him take over from there.
Johnson read them a story about a duck and the many sayings a duck will say during his day. The mayor soon had all the little ones ‘eating out of his hands,’ as they were quite involved in the story. He answered questions they would ask while he was reading. He read a page about a pig oinking and had all of the children ‘oinking.’ He then read a page on the duck crying and the entire group began fake crying and the mayor seemed to enjoy the participation.
The children and the mayor talked about rocks in the pond, and the duck said ouch and they talked about getting hurt and saying ouch, and when the horse was in the book, he asked them how many of them had ridden a horse and they immediately raised their hands. This type of questioning and answering continued throughout the reading of the book and when in the book it had the duck helping others, Johnson talked to them about helping others and how he does that in his job.
And when the story ended with bees chasing the duck, the children began buzzing in the room. Finally, as the mayor was leaving, King had the children say in unison, “thank you”.
Speaking with Johnson, he said he enjoyed reading to the children. He said he has seven children and is also raising two grandchildren, so when it was mentioned about the children all wanting to hug him, he said with a smile, “I’ve had so many gomey hands hug me and it doesn’t bother me.”
King had sent a letter home with the children about celebrating Read Across America Day and it stated that for children whose minds are still actively developing, like their Temple Tots preschoolers, the importance of reading goes far beyond the enjoyment of books and that proper reading skills help children develop better communication skills as well as improved comprehension across all school subjects. The letter continued to say how blessed they were to have Johnson take time from his busy schedule to read to the students and that he is truly a partner in the education of young children.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928