Archer High junior softball pitcher Kory Best reads the book “Corduroy” to kindergarten students in Leslie Mitchem’s class at Cooper Elementary on Friday afternoon. All of the Archer softball players took part in the event as they read to several classes of students at Cooper. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)
LOGANVILLE — The favorite part of the visit might have been when Kory Best lined up and threw the softball pitches — with a foam ball.
But the classroom of kindergarteners she read the book “Corduroy” to also enjoyed the story, and were outspoken about several details of the book.
Best, a junior softball pitcher at Archer High, and the rest of her teammates visited Cooper Elementary on Friday afternoon to read books to several classrooms of students. It’s an ongoing relationship between the schools as Archer often sends football players, wrestlers, cheerleaders and other peer volunteers to read to the youngsters.
“It’s an inspiration for the little ones to see the older kids, it inspires them,” Cooper kindergarten teacher Leslie Mitchem said. “Especially the reading part, because at this point they’re just learning to read, so to see somebody else read that’s a student, it gets them excited about reading, and they realize they can do that.”
Along with reading “Corduroy,” Best answered several questions from the kindergarteners in Mitchem’s class, including what shape a softball is, her team mascot and her travel team.
“I like working with little kids because we usually work with girls our own age,” Best said. “So it’s nice getting involved with kids who don’t already know everything and want to ask questions.”
After Best read the book, Mitchem asked her students several questions about the characters in the book, and she was impressed about many details the students recalled.
“It’s nice to have a good role model for the kids, they get excited,” Mitchem said. “It keeps them more engaged, and a little bit of a change, because they recalled the book very well.”
Best attended Harbins Elementary, but remembered looking up to older softball players when she was in elementary school. She also remembered authors visiting the school to read books, which offered a fresh voice.
Archer softball coach Kris Daniels said the event is designed in part to show the high schoolers that there’s more to life than just them, or high school, or softball.
“It’s a different environment, even though we’re not together, it’s a team bonding to give back to the community,” Best said. “It’s nice to come back and meet different kids that aren’t really involved in sports.”
Mitchem already predicted that her students would tell their parents about Best pitching in the classroom with a foam ball. And about half would demonstrate it at home. And typically after an event like this, the students have one request.
“Can I come back and do that in your class when I get big,” Mitchem said.