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James Patterson celebrates TV program in Delray

Pushing for statewide literacy program
Posted at 4:20 PM, Apr 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-27 16:23:12-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — On Saturday, a launch party for Season 2 of Kid Stew was held at Old School Square in Delray Beach.

The program stars kids who mostly live in Florida including 12-year-old Blake McCall from Jupiter. His favorite part about the town, "I love the beach."

The all-kid cast took pictures and signed autographs. And McCall's best friends brought hand-made signs to support their friend. What do they think of seeing their bestie on T.V.? "It's cool!"

"The mission of the show is to teach kids just the fun in school and like math, reading, and creativity and how much of an impact that makes," says McCall.

The show is the brainchild of prolific author James Patterson, who is Palm Beach resident.

"He's one of my favorite authors, and it's really cool actually getting to meet him and saying some of the stuff that he actually writes," says McCall.

Patterson, known for his adult thrillers, also writes for kids and it's his philanthropic passion to make sure children are able to read.

A year ago, when I spoke to Patterson about improving literacy, he said, "The percentage of kids reading at grade level is 43 percent in Florida and we have a program that we think can get it up into the '80s."

Checking in a year later, he said, "We're still at that situation, we're working with the state, I met with the Governor about a month ago and he says he's going to put it in his budget in terms of moving this program forward."

Patterson says the program he is pushing for is working in Gainsville and is currently in ten school districts. "We want to have it in a third of the state next year."

Kid Stew is one of the ways Patterson hopes to make an impact on kids nationwide.

"And that's what this show is about. It's about paying attention to our kids, educating them," Patterson said. "[Florida] now, I think they want to do a lot with education but if they don't start with kids reading the rest of it isn't going to work as well. It just isn't."

Kid Stew will air May 4 at 9:00 and May 5 at 9:30 on PBS.

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