Dog-gone good story: UGA legend gets kids excited about reading

BUFORD - Vince Dooley led some Buford preschoolers on a game day journey through the University of Georgia campus.

But it wasn't Saturday in Athens. It was Wednesday morning at Buford Head Start and Pre-K.

The former Georgia head football coach and athletic director read his children's book, "How 'Bout Them Dawgs!" The story follows Hairy Dawg through campus on a game day. Wherever he goes, the school mascot is greeted by shouts of "How 'bout them Dawgs!"

Hairy Dawg greets alumni at a tailgating party, meets fans at the campus bookstore, participates in the DawgWalk and watches as the football team scores four touchdowns in the first half. ("They haven't done that in a while," Dooley quipped.) The story ends with the ringing of the victory bell.

Dooley said he hopes the story gets the young students excited about reading.

"As a youngster, you need something extra to get your attention other than just reading," he said.

Susan Penston, the center director, said it's important for early childhood educators to give students a foundation in literacy.

"By knowing how to read, so many opportunities will open up for them," she said, "and just to have the basis of strong reading skills, it's survival for them."

Sally Causell, the school's curriculum director, said Dooley's visit was a wonderful opportunity for the children.

"Reading is the whole basis for their success in school," she said.