Howard hosts event for kids to stress reading

Howard hosts event for kids to stress reading

PHILADELPHIA -- Education is king in the Ryan and Krystle Howard household, and they expressed those feelings Wednesday morning at Citizens Bank Park.

The couple hosted more than 3,000 elementary school children from across the Delaware Valley for the first "Little Rhino Read-Along" on behalf of the Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation. The couple talked to the students about leadership, being a good teammate and, of course, the importance of reading and the knowledge gained from it.

"I thought we had a great turnout," Krystle Howard said. "The kids were engaged. They were excited. To be able to bring education to the baseball field, I think that's a really cool concept."

The Howards and Cameron Rupp acted out scenes from one of the "Little Rhino" books. Howard, Tommy Joseph and Adam Morgan answered questions from students in the stands.

Each student received a Little Rhino book, along with a T-shirt. And the Howards, Joseph and Morgan serenaded the crowd with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to end the event.

Proceeds benefit the Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy through the Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.