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Reading for a record, and for a cause


In several locations throughout Western New York and the nation this morning, volunteers were reading the children's book "Llama Llama Red Pajama." The mass reading of this popular book had two goals... first, to set a world record and second, and more importantly, to raise awareness of early educational gaps caused when children are not reading at an early age.

"This is a national event. More than two million people are slated to read this book," said Patricia Kirst of the organization Reach Out and Read. "In Buffalo we are fully aware of the needs of kids being prepared for school entry and the problems that we have with school performance."

Reach Out and Read works with pediatricians to distribute books to young people in low-income families and encourage parents to read with their children.

Reach Out and Read's statistics suggest more than one third of American children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn to read. Those stats also indicate that slightly fewer than half of American parents are reading to their children daily. The organization also claims that children served by Reach Out and Read enter kindergarten with a six-month developmental advantage over their classmates.

15 local medical practices now participate in Reach Out and Read, including Buffalo Pediatric Associates, where State Assemblyman Sean Ryan volunteered to read "Llama Llama Red Pajama" on Thursday morning.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.