The Sonics storm Thoreau!

Thoreau principal Steve Roetcisoender good-naturedly stood on the school stage and asked the packed house what he had in common with the three very tall people towering next to him. Would it be height ... or a love to read?

The kids applauded loudly - clearly loving the joke - at their March 16 assembly where Sonics players Rashard Lewis and Robert Swift and Storm player Ashley Robinson came to hand out awards and to encourage the students to read.

The assembly, which was in partnership with the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve programming and Scholastic Book Fairs, acknowledged Thoreau for doing so well in previous book fairs.

Since 1996, the NBA and Scholastic have teamed to publish more than 55 children's books.

Seventeen representatives from each class at Thoreau were called to the stage to receive a certificate of reading achievement. The students high-fived the players; at the end of the line a playful Lewis extended his hand up too high for the kids to reach. The leaping attempts were, of course, the highlight of the assembly. By the time the procession was complete, however, the determined sixth-graders were making solid contact with Lewis' hand.

After the assembly, the patient players assembled for autograph signing. Someone asked Swift if Robinson was his girlfriend. "We're married," he deadpanned. Hmmm. Robinson then dispelled the myth, accompanied by an ever-ready smile. It was an afternoon the kids won't soon forget.[[In-content Ad]]