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Young readers eligible for prizes over summer

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Elementary school students who read this summer will have more to gain than escaping into fictional worlds and increased vocabulary. They stand to win prizes that include a hot-air balloon ride with the governor, Lobo basketball tickets, and even a family vacation to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

Gov. Susana Martinez, in partnership with more than a dozen sponsoring agencies and companies, announced four summer reading programs Wednesday, all meant to encourage children to read during the summer months.

“Learning to read well at an early age is critical to academic success and, ultimately, to success in the workplace and in life,” Martinez said in a news release.

In each program, students who read six books will receive a few small prizes, and those who read an additional six books – and in some cases, submit a short write-up – will receive further awards and be eligible for a grand prize.

The programs are:

⋄  New Mexico True Summer Reading Challenge, open to entering second-, third-, or fourth graders. Those who read six books get a certificate from Martinez and a bookmark. Read an additional six books and write a short essay to receive a culture pass to the state’s museums and monuments and the chance to win a grand prize. Grand prizes: the hot-air balloon ride, family tickets to the Albuquerque balloon museum, a fossil digging and star gazing trip to Socorro, tour of a movie set and all-inclusive vacations to Ruidoso and Red River. Pick up a brochure and reading log at any state museum and historical monuments, as well as at public libraries or download at the Public Education Department website, ped.state.nm.us.

⋄  “I’m a Reading Animal,” entering second-, third- or fourth graders. Read six books and earn a certificate and free animal crackers at the zoo. Read another six books and complete a short essay get a free ticket to the ABQ BioPark and a chance to win Junior Zookeeper for a day at the ABQ BioPark and an all-expenses paid family trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Pick up brochure and reading log at the ABQ BioPark or the New Mexico BioPark Society office, or download at PED website.

⋄  Nothing but Net Lobo/Aggie Summer Reading Shootout for incoming second-, third-, and fourth graders. Read six books and get a certificate from Martinez and the head basketball coach of either the Lobos of the Aggies, and a sports poster. Those who read another six books and write an essay will receive a Lobo or Aggie basketball and will be entered in the grand prize drawing. Grand prizes include tickets to a basketball game, a chance to meet the head coach, an autographed basketball and an opportunity to take part in a center-court ceremony. Pick up the brochure and reading log at basketball camps run by the Lobos or Aggies throughout the summer, or at each school’s merchandise store and ticket office, or download at the PED website.

⋄  Club Read, pre-school through fifth grade. Read six books, backpack and a scorecard; read another six for a T-shirt, a new book, Isotopes ticket and a chance to win grand prizes. Those include club-level seat tickets as Orbit’s guest at an Isotopes game, an honorary ceremonial first pitch, an autographed baseball and gift certificates. Pick up the brochure and reading log at any Dion’s in the metro area and at Isotopes Park, or download at www.Dions.com, www.ABQIsotopes.com, or the PED website.

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