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Cory Booker Smiles While On Stage At TheDemocratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Cory Booker Holds Campaign Event In Las Vegas

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New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has a good reading voice. This week, the busy politician kicked off his new YouTube series “Read Along With Cory,” where he educates children on the power of reading with support from the Read Across America initiative. For this episode, Booker showcased his soothing voice by reading Aliya King Neil’s powerful children’s book “Keep Your Head Up.”  The New Jersey author shared her emotional reaction to the news on social media.

“Okay, THIS got me choked up y’all,” King wrote in a Facebook post. “Shout out to Senator Booker and his team for this very special honor. Happy Read Along Day!!”

The picture book was beautifully illustrated by artist Charly Palmer and published by Denene Millner Books. It teaches little ones that it’s okay to have a bad day and gives a sweet reminder that even on the worst days, it’s important to keep your head up and be kind to yourself.

The National Education Association( NEA) launched Read Across America in 1998, which focuses on motivating children and teens to read through partnership programs and by delivering reading resources to communities in need. The initiative strives to include books that “students can see themselves reflected in”, with material that “allows readers to see a world or a character that might be different than them,” the NEA’s website notes.

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Booker’s series comes just in time for National Reading Month which takes place all March long. In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday,  National Reading Month was created to encourage children of all ages to read every day. Reading is a vital component of education and professional development for children.

Programs like Read Across America or now more imperative than ever, as reading proficiency rates appear to be on the decline among children and teens in the United States. According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “some 34% of students are below basic reading level in the fourth grade,” while “27% of eighth-grade students are below basic reading levels.”


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