Pastors host “Story Time” for children in community to promote literacy

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- On Wednesday, pastors all across Little Rock came together to spend quality time with the young people of their community by sharing a book. 

“Story Time with Pastors” is an event that allows the men to engage with local schools and children in their community by reading a book out loud. 

“I think it’s important because it gives you an opportunity to mentor children who are in elementary school,” says Pastor Robert DeShun Coates of St. Paul Baptist Church in Little Rock. 

This is the fourth year the event has been held with nearly 30 pastors from all across Little Rock in attendance. 

The men read to the students at Wakefield Elementary School. With more than 40 different books being read out loud.  

“We came out to read to children in grades K through 6,” explains. Pastor Coates. “It’s important for the children to see us not just at church but in their community.” 

Experts say reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination. 

Even after a child has learned to read by themselves, it’s important for adults to continue to read aloud together because this helps develop key language and listening skills. 

Pastor Coates says the goal is to promote the power and importance of reading especially for children in his community. 

“For them [the students] to get an opportunity to see a diverse group of individuals partnering together to get to spend time to read to them,” he says.  

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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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