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Mayor and superintendent kickoff citywide reading initiative ‘One Richmond, One Book’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney joined students at Redd Elementary School Monday to kick off the city’s first-ever citywide reading initiative.

The “One Richmond, One Book” initiative gives students at all 26 city elementary schools a copy of the same book, Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney.

Each night the students are asked to read a chapter with their families.

Mayor Stoney says the program will help improve literacy among younger students.

“Reading has opened a world for me that I would not have if I did not at a young age pick up that book alongside my parents and started going to worlds that I never thought I would go to,” said Stoney. So, I’m living in that world today."

Superintendent Jason Kamras also kicked off the program Monday at G H Reid Elementary School.

“Programs like One Richmond, One Book are the heart and soul of this community,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said. “They support quality instruction, they uplift our schools and our students and they help build a sense of community. I can’t wait to get into classrooms and join our students as they read this book.”

Some Richmond schools, like Broad Rock Elementary School, have already implemented the program.

Patrick Henry Principal Dr. Eileen Atkinson credited the program with improving students’ comprehension and confidence.

“It was like being part of a family,” LaShonda DeBrill, a reading specialist at Broad Rock, said. “It made students happy and excited that even adults were involved. It connected us.”