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Educators press for more reading in Buffalo schools

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

It's an attempt to create a "Culture of Literacy," as Buffalo schools race to have every student coming up to fourth grade reading proficiently.

That's because fourth grade is when those textbooks start getting really hard and if the student isn't ready, that student will start falling behind. The district is using smaller classes and heavily-trained teachers to get them ready.

Read to Succeed Buffalo's Anne Ryan says her group is getting books into homes.

"The research shows that 61 percent of kids in low-income households have no access to books. The research also shows for middle income kids they have access to 15 books in their homes, on average," Ryan said.

"For low-income kids, there are 300 children to every one book."

Ryan's program has a group of kids who get a new book every month. The program works closely with Buffalo Promise Neighborhood which has early childhood centers working to have kids in the 14215 Zip Code kindergarten-ready to enter that "Culture of Literacy."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.