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Community volunteers encourage kids to open up books
Atlanta Falcon David Patterson stopped by to read for students at Chicopee Woods Elementary. - photo by For The Times
After his morning workout, the Atlanta Falcons David Patterson stopped by Chicopee Woods Elementary for some light reading.

The 285-pound defensive lineman’s choice of material: "The Lady With the Alligator Purse."

Patterson gathered in the library with groups of the school’s second-graders for Read Across America Day.

Schools across the county participated in the event.

Read Across America, sponsored by the National Education Association, encouraged young people across the country to open up a book and get their read on.

Patterson read a few books — "The Lady With the Alligator Purse," "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Be a Good Sport Miss Malarkey"— with his pint-sized partners before letting them show off their literacy by reading questions to him from a list, one of which asked if Patterson liked football more than anything else.

"Football is my favorite sport, but I like video games a lot, too," he said.

The curious second-graders had plenty of other questions for Patterson, asking him what team he played for, if they played hard teams, how often the team practiced and if he got along well with his coaches.

"Coaches are like teachers," said the 23-year-old defensive lineman. "They teach you things you have to learn, and they want you to pay attention when they’re talking."

Patterson, who just finished his first season with the Atlanta football team, said he jumped at the opportunity to be with the Hall County second-graders on Monday.

"I love any time I get the opportunity to spend time with the community," Patterson said.