Arizona Republic
April 8, 2007

Author: The Arizona Republic
Estimated printed pages: 2

Thousands of Arizona students, parents, teachers, and librarians today will Drop Everything and Read, reminding families to find 30 minutes daily for reading together.

The message is: turn off the TV, video games and iPods and curl up with a book.

In celebration of National D.E.A.R. Day, the Arizona Parent Teacher Association and McDonald's of Arizona are providing more than 230,000 Arizona first- through third-graders with a parent tip brochure giving 30 ways to make reading fun.

The brochure also features a detachable bookmark that encourages students to read 30 minutes a day and receive a healthy snack, compliments of Arizona McDonald's.

Teachers are distributing the bookmarks this week.

"Arizona PTA believes that one of the most important things families and schools can do is to encourage children to love to reading," said Lucy Ranus, president of Arizona Parent Teacher Association.

Arizona McDonald's owners and operators are spearheading a program that

* Support of the Governor's Book Program, providing every Arizona fourth-grader with a free book on Arizona history.

* Readers Are Leaders Award Program, providing $15,000 in grants to AZPTA schools to enhance school library book collections.

* Aplicate con McDonald's, a campaign focusing on improving early literacy rates and education for Hispanic youth. McDonald's has partnered with the Arizona Department of Education's Even Start Family Literacy Program that serves low-income families.

"McDonald's recognizes the integral role reading plays in shaping a child's education and future," said Mike Pegram of McDonald's Owner/Operator Association of Phoenix and Northern Arizona.

For more information, go to www.azpta.org/ and www.dropeverythingandread.com/index.html.