Making Reading a Tradition

TAMPA -

When Florida's children go on holiday break from school, it will mean more leisure time for them to curl up with a good book. But just how well are Florida's students reading these days?

In nearly every case, students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee counties are scoring better on the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. The percentage of kids reading at or above grade level has steadily improved since 2002. That's when the state started reporting scores.

Cathy Pierce is the early literacy coordinator for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Libraries. She says children are never too young to benefit from story time.

'We recommend that you read to your child at least 15 minutes a day,' Pierce says. 'But, that 15 minutes doesn't have to be all at one sitting. If you've got a young baby or a young toddler, you're not going to be able to hold their attention for that length of time, so you want to break up that time throughout the day.'

Educators credit early literacy programs and reading coaches with the improved test scores.

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