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Mayor Battle’s Book Club Kicks off Third Year Literacy Campaign in Elementary Education

For Immediate Release
City of Huntsville March 15, 2013

(Huntsville, AL) – Mayor Tommy Battle is a big fan of “Green Eggs & Ham,” the best-selling children’s story that could be considered the quintessential guide in the power of persuasion. The Mayor’s interest in Dr. Seuss, however, is the book’s allure to young readers, and today he read about Sam-I-am to students in Huntsville’s Title 1 schools. Following the readings, Mayor Battle’s Book Club distributed age-appropriate books to each of the students.

This is the third year Mayor Battle’s Book Club will give a personal set of books to each pre-K through 5th grade student in all 10 of Huntsville’s Title 1 schools. By the end of the school year, more than 20,000 books will be distributed to nearly 5,000 students. This allows each student to receive four books, helping them establish a personal library at home and hopefully instilling a love of reading.

The Mayor and his wife, Eula, kicked-off the 2013 Book Club program today at Ridgecrest Elementary School with an assembly and book reading.

“The annual kickoff is one of the highlights of my year,” said Mayor Battle. “We employ a great deal of audience participation in reading Green Eggs and Ham, and I want children to know that reading is enjoyable and that books can expand your imagination. By taking the time to go and read to the students, I also show them I value reading and that this is important.”

Mayor Battle formed the Mayor’s Book Club in 2011 in an effort to promote literacy in elementary education by ensuring children had access to books at an early age. A key partner in the program is First Book-North Alabama, which handles logistics and administration, and four corporate sponsors who generously donated more than $50,000 to pay for the books.

“This program would not be possible without the ongoing support and commitment of First Book and our corporate sponsors,” said Mayor Battle. “Boeing, Patti and Louis Breland, COPT Development & Construction Services, and Woody Anderson Ford are playing a key role in helping students develop important literacy skills.”

Anthony Daniels, founder of First Book-North Alabama, said children who read, and who are read to, perform better in school and in life. “The challenge for parents and educators is getting children excited about reading,” said Daniels. “The kickoff for Mayor Battle's Book Club is a party with a purpose. It shows kids that reading can be fun."

To promote the Mayor’s Book Club, Mayor Battle and his sponsors traveled to each participating elementary school and read “Green Eggs and Ham” to students. In addition to the Ridgecrest kickoff, the Mayor and sponsors read at Dawson, Highlands, Lakewood, Martin Luther King Jr., McDonnell, Montview, Louis J. Morris, Rolling Hills, and University Place Elementary.

First Book - North Alabama (FBNA) joins with publishing companies and is able to provide high quality books at a cost of about $2 per book. The First Book Online Marketplace offers numerous titles to suit a wide range of ages and reading levels.

National statistics show the ratio of books to children in middle-income neighborhoods is approximately 13 books per child. However, the ratio in low-income neighborhoods is only one book per 300 children. By providing children with books they can take home and keep, "Mayor Battle's Book Club" targets the only variable that correlates significantly with reading scores: the number of books in the home.

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For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov



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