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Mayor Helps Teachers Kick Off Reading Program

Mayor Gillum speaking to DeSoto Trail students.
Nick Evans

Summer’s over for Leon county students and teachers are pushing them to hit the books.  Desoto Trail Elementary has a plan to crank reading habits into high gear.

Tuesday morning Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum helped DeSoto Trail kick off its accelerated reading, or AR, program.

“If you want to be great at reading you have to?” Gillum asks before the kids shout back ‘practice.’

“You have to practice,” Gillum agrees, “You have to read.  It’s just like a muscle.”

It’s superhero day, and the cafeteria is full of kids in superhero t-shirts, masks and even a couple of full-on costumes.  The principal and vice principal are wearing capes.  They’re super readers and Vice Principal Cassandra Poole says they have a secret weapon for getting kids to read.

“We have a program that we have rolled out which is the Roll and Read on the school bus,” Poole says, “and so they have the opportunity to also finish their books on the bus, make sure that I am aware that they finished that book during the time of Roll and Read.”

She and Principal Michele Keltner say last year the school cracked 70,000 books.  They’re aiming for 80,000 this year.  

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.