LA CROSSE, Wis. -

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Most educators will tell you, there is no skill more important to future success than reading.

Now North Woods International School in La Crosse has started a new effort to get kids excited about reading that goes beyond the words on a page.

Nothing could be better for fith-grader Claire Borschem than sitting down to read a good book.

“You just get to focus on your book, and you go into your book and have fun with it,” said Borschem.

But she said having the La Crosse mayor Matt Harter read her and her classmates a story makes reading just a little more exciting.

“Not many kids get this opportunity,” said Borschem.

It's part of the Community Leaders, Community Readers initiative at North Woods, a new way the school's library media director, Gary Boisvert came up with to get all kids excited about reading, by hearing stories from local leaders.

“Sometimes it doesn't click for some until later on and sometimes it clicks earlier,” said Boisvert. “It’s when you can make that connection. This is just one way, this program, of making the connection with the kids.”

Reading is really the foundation to many other skills from science and math... to being able to reading street signs and directions.

While the benefits to reading are endless, kindergarten teacher, Kate Hooper, said if students can get hooked on reading at an early age, it can only benefit them in the later chapters of their lives.

“Especially in early childhood, preschool, kindergarten first and second grade, that [reading] really important, and we find that by the time they get to third grade fourth grade, upper elementary school, it makes it a lot harder to make those gains or to catch up when kids are behind,” said Hooper.

And the hope is, if students see community leaders excited about reading, maybe they'll be excited to read and lead one day too.

“I love reading,” said Borschem. “I liked it. It was really cool.”

Educators also said as important as it is for students to learn in school to read and to love reading, it's also important to continue reading at home with parents.

The next guests to come read to North Woods International School include State Senator Jennifer Shilling and the Logan High School's football and girls’ basketball teams.