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Scholastic & Reading Is Fundamental to kick off worldwide kid's read-a-thon on 8 December

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MUMBAI: Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), children's literacy organization, will bring millions of children together on 8 December to participate in 'Read For 2007: Read For Life,' the eighth annual worldwide read-a-thon.

The read-a-thon encourages children in schools, libraries and homes to stop everything and read for 2,007 seconds (approximately 33 ½ minutes) and to celebrate the joy of reading on this day and throughout the new year.

"Read For 2007: Read For Life is a chance for parents, teachers, librarians, Governors' spouses and celebrities to be reading role models and share the love of reading with kids around the world," said, Scholastic chief academic officer Francie Alexander. "By designating this special day, we want kids to show their commitment to reading and make the pledge that reading is important, fun and worth celebrating!"

To build excitement for Scholastic Read For 2007, Scholastic has launched the official Web site at http://www.scholastic.com/readfor2007, which features podcasts about reading from young celebrities, including actressand author Masiela Lusha from the George Lopez show, and recording artists Sabrina Bryan of the Cheetah Girls, Kristy Frank, Tyler Hilton and J Xavier, informs an official release.

Special online tools have been created for students, teachers and parents, including "Kids' Pick For 2007," where kids can vote for their favourite books, plus online chats with best-selling authors, and an interactive world map featuring classrooms participating in the program.

The web site also offers a selection of free resources, including reading tips, age-appropriate book lists, downloadable Scholastic Read For 2007 reading certificates and bookmarks featuring children's favourite characters including Captain Underpants, Clifford and Dragon, adds the release.

This year, 38 Gubernatorial Spouses -- and two "First Sons" - have signed on to participate as Scholastic Read For 2007 "Ambassadors of Reading." The Governors' Spouses and First Sons will help spread the message about the importance of reading to his/her state and to the nation by hosting reading events at schools, libraries or state capitals. As part of their participation, Scholastic will donate 500 books to a RIF site in each state that is represented by an "Ambassador of Reading."

"The Read For 2007: Read For Life program offers children and the adults in their lives an opportunity to make reading part of their busy day," said Reading Is Fundamental president Carol H. Rasco. "At RIF, our hope is that families, businesses and other organizations across the nation will encourage children to participate in Read For 2007 and make reading a fun and fundamental part of their daily lives."

In 1999, Scholastic launched the "Read For" campaign to commemorate the millennium and to unite children in a global celebration of reading. "Read For" was quickly embraced by schools around the world and continues to bring reading and the joy of learning into homes and classrooms. Since its inception, the initiative has grown to unite millions of children, parents, and teachers in each of the 50 U.S. states and throughout 37 countries, connecting children across cultures and continents from Iowa to India.

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