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Initiative encourages reading aloud to children

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Stamp out illiteracy and bring on the bedtime stories. Those are the goals of an effort to highlight the importance of reading to children for at least 15 minutes a day.An event called Read Aloud 15 Minutes took place Tuesday at the downtown Central Library where elected officials like Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz read books to children and members of non-profit organizations discussed why reading to kids everyday can be beneficial to their future.

Mary Jean Jakubowski, Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, says reading to children can expand their imagination.

"Books will transport you to other worlds and other lands and they just really begin to make the thought process begin to stir and begin to work and progress forward and kids get every excited about even the littlest of things," said Jakubowski.

Jakubowski says children who are read to everyday do better in school. She says the daily activity can also create a strong bond between parents and their kids.

Anne Ryan, Executive Director of read to succeed talked about why the daily ritual is so important.

"The Heart Wisely Study looked at it from children in poverty on welfare, children in middle income homes and children in upper income homes and the word gap is actually 30 million words heard by the age of four. So these children are already presented to school well behind their peers," Ryan said.

Senator Tim Kennedy says an extra $5 million were put into the new budget for libraries in New York State. Kennedy says one in five individuals in Erie County are illiterate and encouraging children to read at an early age can prevent that from happening.