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Museum trip helps students work on art of reading

By John Published: February 9, 2011
Museum docent Bev Johnson reads to a group of kindergarteners from Leggett Elementary School at the Akron Art Museum for This City Reads Wednesday. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

About 310 Leggett elementary school students boarded six buses Wednesday morning for a field trip to the Akron Art Museum to attend the eighth annual Day of Reading kickoff.

''There's only 20 who didn't have a permission slip, so they're back reading in the auditorium,'' said Leggett Principal Philomena Vincente. ''But everybody else two autism classes, two behavior classes they're all here. The whole school is here.''

This City Reads! a community alliance of 145 organizations and individuals working to promote reading and literacy sponsors the annual Day of Reading.

Organizers hoped to get as many readers in Summit County as possible to read for a half-hour on Wednesday and document their reading time at the organization's Web site,

Last year, 80,625 reported their reading.

Leggett students have been part of the kickoff for four years, the first two at Akron Children's Hospital and last year at the Akron Art Museum.

Vincente said the kids look forward to the trip.

They read in small groups in the atrium lobby area, which is dominated by the bright, multicolored bars of the Sol LeWitt mural.

''They love the readers, but the also talk about the building, the big staircase and the pictures and the colors,'' she said. ''They always remember this wall with the bricks. They call it the colored brick wall.''

Celebrity readers included Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, who read Bats at the Library, written and illustrated by Brian Lies.

Sandy Auburn and Bernie Rochford played the parts of the cat and the dog in poet Donald Hall's book, I Am the dog, I Am the Cat, which compares the attitudes, habits and lifestyles of each pet.

A kickoff breakfast at the museum honored this year's winners of the Literacy is Life Awards who are:

• Cheryl Franklin and Karla Weber, nominated by Akron Public Schools.

• Yu-Ling Yeh, nominated by Akron Summit Community Action Head Start.

• Friends of Main Library, nominated by Akron-Summit County Public Library.

• Kathy Crawford, nominated by First Book-Greater Akron.

• Mike and Ann Fremon, nominated by Project Learn of Summit County.

• Rachel Breece and Bridgette Hopson, nominated by Project RISE-Akron Public Schools.

• Esther Hexeter, nominated by the Shaw Jewish Community Center.

• Jennifer Ancil, nominated by Summit Academy Schools.

• Inda Blatch-Geib, nominated by This City Reads!

John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or Read the education blog at



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