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October 2, 2001

Mrs. Ryan to Share Reading with Children as Part of Illinois Reads and Springfield Area Book Donation Program

SPRINGFIELD -- As part of Governor Ryan's statewide Illinois Reads initiative, First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan will make a special appearance with Coca-Cola and the Reading is Fundamental StoryTravelers Wednesday (Oct. 3) to read to children and to help distribute free books to families.

"Our children are our most precious resource and they are our personal investment in the future of our state and nation," Mrs. Ryan said. "By making reading a priority, we are giving our children the tools they need to be productive and successful."

The Coca-Cola Company and Reading is Fundamental, the nation's oldest and largest family literacy organization, have joined together in creating 15 RIF StoryTravelers-vehicles that travel the country distributing millions of free books and providing activities such as puppet shows and interactive storytelling.

Courtesy of Springfield Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and Illinois Reads, the Reading is Fundamental StoryTraveler will distribute 1,000 books to Springfield-area children when it comes to the Meijer's Store at Prairie Crossing Shopping Mall tomorrow, from 3-7 p.m.

The books, geared toward children in grades K-12, were donated by New-York based Scholastic, Inc.-the largest publisher of children's literature in the country, and New Jersey-based Troll Communications-the second largest publisher.

Following an interactive storytelling session by the Coca-Cola performers and a magic show, Mrs. Ryan will read "Oh How I Wished I Could Read" to children tomorrow at approximately 4 p.m.

Governor Ryan created the Illinois Reads program as part of his continuing commitment to education and literacy. Through Illinois Reads, Gov. Ryan aims to help children read well by the time they reach the third grade.


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