As another school year comes to a close, parents should encourage their children to read throughout the summer. Many local businesses and public libraries will sponsor summer reading programs. The New Mexico Reads to Lead summer reading challenge is sponsored by the State of New Mexico, City of Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State, and many other local businesses. The challenge is "a free reading program dedicated to stopping the 'summer slide' by encouraging our New Mexico students to read more books over the summer break."
The challenge runs from April 22 through July 31, 2014 and the reading log is available online. The challenge is open to New Mexico students ages 5-12. Students who read 6 books during the challenge will be Reading Roadrunners and will receive a certification from Governor Martinez and a New Mexico True bookmark. Students who read 6 more books and write an essay will be New Mexico True Readers and will receive the certificate, bookmark, and be entered into the grand prize drawing. The topic of the short essay should be, "Why I love New Mexico." The grand prizes include the following:
- One reader (and family of four) will receive an all expenses paid trip to Walt Disney's World Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.
- One reader (and family of four) will receive an all expenses paid trip to Red River, including dinner for two nights and ski passes for two days.
- One reader (and family of four) will receive an overnight stay in Elephant Butte to include a boat ride on the lake a fossil hunt in Socorro.
- Two readers will receive a hot air balloon ride with Governor Martinez and a family four pack of tickets to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.
- Four readers will become zookeepers for a day which includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the BioPark and a pair of admission tickets to the BioPark.
- Three readers will have the opportunity to meet a head Lobo basketball coach, be announced on the court at a basketball game, a pair of tickets to a Lobo basketball game, and an autographed basketball signed by the team.
- Three readers will have the opportunity to meet a head Aggie basketball coach, be announced on the court at a basketball game, a pair of tickets to a Aggie basketball game, and an autographed basketball signed by the team.
- Two readers will win a behind-the-scene tour and four admission tickets to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.
- Two hundred readers will receive Culture Passes that are good for admission to 16 museums and historic sites.
Governor Martinez and Mayor Berry kicked off the summer reading challenge in April. As noted in the summer challenge materials, "Reading is the foundation for learning, and when our students read well, they are better positioned to succeed academically, in the workplace, and in life." This summer reading challenge provides an opportunity to reward students for summer reading and will hopefully instill a lifelong love of reading. The Albuquerque Public Library Examiner will highlight other summer reading programs, so stay tuned!
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