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Begin the trip of a lifetime

July 03, 2007

There are just two months left to complete the Maryland's "Reading Road Trip," so parents need to get their young people involved now. It just might be the start of a lifelong journey into the world of the imagination.

The teen component of the program is called "N2 BKS" (into books) and is run by the Washington County Free Library. Each young person who signs up receives a game board and a list of nine tasks.

After completing four of those, the participant receives a small prize. In addition, participants must read 10 books, but they can choose the titles themselves.

Those who finish all their tasks get tickets good for a raffle of gift cards to Regal Cinemas, GameStop, Prime Outlets, Borders Books, Circuit City, Dick's Sporting Goods, Pottery By Me, Old Navy and Family Recreation Park.

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The program is free, but the benefits could last a lifetime. The National Institute For Literacy reports that children who are good readers are more likely to become better learners as they go through school.

But NIFL's reports also note that it is not enough to give a child books; parents must participate, too. That means reading aloud with youngsters, talking about what they've read and making books available to them.

Reading allows young people to imagine possibilities for their lives that their own daily experiences don't provide. Don't deny them that gift.

The main branch of the Washington County Free Library is at 100 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown.

For information on programs and hours of operation, visit the library's Web site at www.washcolibrary.org or call 301-739-3250.

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