Book Festival Encourages Young Readers - 8 News NOW

Book Festival Encourages Young Readers

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LAS VEGAS -- The largest annual children's book festival in Las Vegas wrapped up at the historic 5th St. school in downtown Las Vegas. 

"I like all of the adventures and excitement," said Peyton Wood. From tales of wild things to secret adventures, Wood says reading is enchanting. She's one of thousands of avid readers at the Vegas Valley Children's Book Festival.

It's designed to illustrate the importance of literacy. Teri Koehler with the Best Friends Animal Society is at the festival introducing parents and kids to reading by using trained rescue animals.

"It helps kids get relaxed with reading because they're reading to our certified therapy animals. So, in that environment there is less stress and less pressure to read. They become very comfortable reading," Koehler said.

Every year the festival has grown and attracted more people. Authors like Frank Fiorello think the growth means more parents are getting back to the basics of reading. 

"Getting kids to open a book, to hold it in their hand; there's no substitute for that and I tell parents that children are never too young." Fiorello says huge literary events like this could also play a small role in improving the nation's report card.

The Nevada report card shows 26 percent of eighth graders were proficient in reading this year compared to 22 percent, two years ago. And 29 percent were proficient in math versus 25 percent, two years ago.

The school district's Assistant Superintendent of Accountability, Sue Daellenbach, says the gains are proof. "It shows us we still have work to do but that we're on the right path in getting a more rigorous curriculum for students in the state of Nevada

Organizers are still adding up this weekend's attendance but think they at least met last year attendance of 10,000 people.

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