Utah students participate in national literacy initiative

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Students across the state took part in Read Across America Day, and it’s a literacy initiative aimed at encouraging kids to get into reading.

Kindergartners celebrated the event with a Dr. Seuss themed reading party while the older kids had a read-a-thon at Hunter Elementary School.

The kids all take part in a year round reading program called ‘Road to Success’, which tracks their reading hours online. With a national focus on reading this week, their reading hours have spiked.

“They are getting to be better readers, and it is reflected in their school work and in their grades and their end of level testing,” Principal Kayla MacKay said. “And it's so important for them and it can be fun at the same time. We are excited to be part of the Road to Success Program; it is a program that works and it turns out lifelong readers.”

Seventy-four percent of students in Utah read at or above grade level, but the Road to Success Reading Program wants to put that to 90 percent.

“We've been at it for seven years, and we know the effectiveness of daily reading habits and we are moving reading scores,” said Rick Folkerson, president of the Success in Education Foundation.

Educators said a love for reading usually starts in pre-school and kindergarten, which is why they said it's crucial for parents to read to their kids from a young age.

“We can augment what can already be started in the home," MacKay said. "And that is a powerful partnership. When the school partners with family then the child is almost guaranteed success."