Milwaukee Public Library fires up Super Reader program

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Ever since she was just four-years-old, Rebekah Arndt has been a Super Reader.

"That encouraged me to read during the summer and that summer carried on to the school year and then I just developed this really big love of reading," says now 12-year-old Rebekah.

Rebekah is one of many success stories out of the Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader program.

This initiative provides incentives and activities to encourage kids to read while they're on summer break.

Programs like this are critical, as many of Milwaukee's students are struggling.

"In the country, we rank fourth from the bottom in large urban cities on our reading level. So that means the majority of other cities are reading much better than our kids are," says Milwaukee Public Library Coordinator of Youth Services Kelly Hughbanks.

If a child doesn't read during the summer, they can lose 2 - 3 months of what they learned during the school year.

This problem is even worse among the 43% of children in the city living in poverty.

"Many times the kids living in poverty haven`t had the opportunity to have a lot of books in the household, they haven`t had someone reading to them on a daily basis," says Hughbanks.

By just reading 4 - 5 books over the summer, kids can maintain or even improve their reading ability.

"It really is a crisis. We need to get kids reading throughout the summer everyday practicing their reading skills," says Hughbanks.

As for Rebekah, she plans to keep on reading.

"My dad always tells me that in one summer I read more than he has in his entire life and if that gives you an idea go ahead you can try to do the math, I`m not going to," says Rebekah.

You can now sign your child up to be a Super Reader beginning at the Milwaukee Public Library.

The Super Reader Program is for kids 0 -12.

There is a teen reading program called "Put Your Face in a Book" is for teens 13-18.

For more information you can log onto http://www.mpl.org/summerreading/superreader_index.htm