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The children enrolled in Granville Head Start hug Homer, the Peoria Chiefs mascot, before he leaves their classroom Thursday. The children participating in Homer’s Reading Program who meet their reading goals will be given a free ticket to a Peoria Chiefs game and be invited to be in a pre-game parade led by Homer around the field. The Granville Head Start is registering children for the 2013-2014 school year. To check into the possibility of registering a child, call Josh at (815) 220-1602 or (309) 246-6398. NewsTribune photo/Shannon Crawley-Serpette
GRANVILLE — The Granville Head Start students weren’t allowed to hit a Homer on Thursday — but they were allowed to pet him.
Homer, the Peoria Chiefs’ mascot, and Brett Adams, account executive for the Peoria Chiefs, visited the children in their classroom as part of Homer’s Reading Program. The program encourages children to read, and rewards those who make their goal with a free Peoria Chiefs ticket and a hot dog and drink.
The children who earn a ticket will attend a game in May. At that game, children also will have the opportunity to participate in a pre-game parade led by Homer around the field.
Janell Blanco, who works with the Head Start program in Granville, said she hopes the program encourages children to read.
“I’m really trying to push the literacy,” she said.
Before Homer arrived in the classroom, Adams spoke to the children about the benefits of reading.
“I want to let you know how important reading is,” he said.
When Homer arrived, the children laughed and hugged him.
“He’s a giant,” one student, Beau Stoner of Granville, said.
Shannon Crawley-Serpette may be reached at (309) 364-2268 or email@example.com.
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