Children all across Buffalo are being encouraged to read this summer. Mayor Byron Brown kicked off his 12th annual Reading Rules program Tuesday. As WBFO'S Eileen Buckley reports, the reading challenge is designed to help students in Kindergarten through 12th grade improve their reading and writing skills while they are away from the classroom for the summer.
Mari Russell rattled off a partial list of the books she plans to read this summer. Russell will be in first grade this fall. She appeared on the steps of City Hall in Buffalo Tuesday with other area children as Mayor Brown announced his book challenge to students.
Mayor Brown first started Reading Rules in 2001 as state senator. He says he was very concerned about low literacy rates and reading scores among Buffalo school children.
"We've continued the program and since I've been mayor, over 7,500 children have completed the summer reading program," said Mayor Brown.
Last year, Buffalo students read over 11,000 books, This year the city wants to break that record.
Students in K through 8th grade need to read seven book and write book summaries submitted to the mayor to win prizes. High school students must read at least four books to qualify.
"And right now, students please start your reading," said Mayor Brown.
"I like to read rhyming books," said Russell.
Young Mari Russell is ready to get started. She proudly held a book titled "Elephants" explaining that she likes to read.
"Because sometimes when I ask a question, and I have it, I think, because I could just look it up in a book," said Russell.
For Russell reading is never a chore and prefers it over watching television.
"Usually when someone else is watching TV, I just read," said Russell.
That's the attitude the city is hoping for this summer for "Reading Rules".