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Members of Tallahassee community work to improve child literacy rate in Leon County

Posted at 8:30 PM, Oct 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-14 22:12:45-04
  • Master Caleb Stewart and the DJ Demp Foundation collaborated to bring attention to child literacy.
  • City Commissioners plan to keep working with schools and libraries to introduce young people to reading.
  • Watch the video above to see what is being done to help the child proficiency rate in Tallahassee.

Approximately 40% of students nationally can’t read at a basic level according to the national literacy institute.

I’m Terry Gilliam in Northwest Tallahassee.

Master Caleb, the world’s youngest motivational speaker, and the DJ Demp foundation partnered to bring attention to a big issue in the community.

“It makes me feel really good because I can help kids… lots of kids become more proficient in reading.”

That was Caleb Stewart, a Tallahassee native who sees a growing problem in the community— child literacy.

“My favorite thing about this event is helping kids become more proficient in reading.”

Saturday, Stewart and the DJ Demp foundation partnered to hand out books and other resources to kids to try help the child proficiency rate.

According to a 2021 article from the Tallahassee democrat, third grade reading scores dropped 7 percent from 2019.

It's something that drives child book author, Kerry Phillips to show support for this type of cause.

“Some kids never leave Tallahassee, but in a book; you can go wherever you want to go because you’re reading the book.”

Phillips tells me he knows age groups that are in third and fourth grade are crucial years when it comes to being proficient in reading.

“I think it’s very important.”

But what are ways to help those rates in Tallahassee?

I asked that question to city commissioners Curtis Richardson, and he says…

“We need to start as early as we can by introducing young people to reading.”

Richardson tells me what steps the city plans to take in the future.

“Supporting events like this, making sure that we work with our local libraries and our schools to introduce our young people to reading.”

That’s something encouraging for young kids like Stewart.

“It makes me feel really good.”