Education Matters: Susanne Brunner’s Reading Initiative

More Book-A-Thon

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – For 10 weeks, KARK 4 Today co-host Susanne Brunner is traveling to elementary schools across Central Arkansas to talk to kids about the importance of reading.

With her reading initiative, more than 2,300 kids have already taken the pledge to read 10 books in 10 weeks.

Story time is a favorite time in elementary school.

It’s one of the reasons Susanne loved reading so much as a kid, and today, wants to instill the love of reading in children.

“It helps you read better and it helps you learn,” says Karter, a kindergartener who has taken the pledge.

The 5-year-old attends Landmark Elementary in Pulaski County and says she’s excited to take “Susanne Brunner’s Book-A-Thon: 10 Books. 10 Weeks.” pledge.

Once a week, students will fill out the book they read…until they cross the finish line.

“You learn better and you learn better,” says London, another kindergartener who has taken the pledge.

London and Karter are already talking about the books they plan to read weekly.

The goal is to encourage children to find stories that interest them and have never read before.

“I read my books sometimes at the library or my grandparents house or my mom’s house,” says Karter.

Susanne’s reading initiative comes after several years reporting on education stories in Arkansdas classrooms.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Arkansas ranks in the lower third in reading scores, compared to other states.

“If you are a good reader, a successful reader, then you are successful in all areas of your academic career,” says Rhonda Thomason, a teacher-librarian.

From book clubs to interventions, she says the school is doing everything it can to improve reading scores.

“When I hear about 10 books in 10 weeks for kindergarten through second grade I was completely on board,” Thomason adds. “I’m very excited we finally have something that appeals to the younger students.”

“If I know how to read then I’m really smart,” says London.

The challenge has been accepted and a growing number of pledges roll in week after week.

Click here to learn more about “Susanne Brunner’s Book-A-Thon: 10 Books. 10 Weeks.”

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Susanne’s Mission

Susanne Brunner is the Morning Anchor on KARK 4 TODAY and also shares weekly education reports. Some have highlighted positive stories about the importance of reading at an early age and ensuring more children have a book of their own. Susanne’s goal is to write stories that teach kids valuable life lessons. She also hopes her published book “Busker the Tusker” helps build a special bond between children and their parents. Growing up, Susanne’s mom told her a special bedtime story that she remembers and holds dear to this day. That memory encouraged Susanne to create a tale of her own to tell, which is how “Busker the Tusker” came to life. Click here to learn more about the book 

 Susanne Brunner’s Book-A-Thon: 10 Books. 10 Weeks., is a reading initiative she launched in September 2019 to encourage more children to pick up a book to read. Susanne and Busker are visiting schools across Arkansas to read his story and to inspire kids to take the pledge to read 10 books in 10 weeks. You can download and print the pledge on this site. Once kids finish their reading adventure, Susanne and Busker will give them a certificate of completion. Her goal is to reach as many kids as possible, teach them the importance of reading, and help make a difference in Arkansas’ reading deficit. What are you waiting for? Join Susanne’s reading adventure!

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Arkansas’ Reading Deficit

  • Only 31% of Arkansas’ 4th-grade students are proficient in reading (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
  • Arkansas ranks in the lower third in reading scores in comparison to other states (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
  • One-third of Arkansas schools report average literacy scores lower than 25 percent (Department of Education in Arkansas, 2015).
  • Only 39% of Arkansas’ graduating seniors met reading readiness benchmarks on the ACT (2015).

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