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Some skills are forever important

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By The Staff

"A good book is the best of friends, the same today and for ever." -Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810-1889)

We're excited! Woody, the Kentucky Wiener dog is back. And starting next week, children in Campbellsville and Taylor County can follow along through 10 weeks of his misadventures.

On next Thursday's Just For Kids page, readers will find the first chapter of "Heads and Tails," yet another chapter book about Woody and all the trouble he gets into. This time, Woody visits the county fair and finds a treasure on the Ferris wheel - a 1909 penny, the first year that Abraham Lincoln's face appeared on the coin. By discovering the penny, Woody not only learns about the history of the coin, but also about the importance of earning and saving money, as well as spending that money wisely.

In addition, there will be scrapbooks available to use for clipping and pasting each week's installment. When the series is over, those who have collected each chapter will have an entire book at no cost.

Many families can't afford to buy their children books of their own. But through our story series, each child who participates will have a book of their very own to keep.

However, this project is only a small step in the larger effort to teach children the fun in reading for pleasure.

Becoming an engaged, lifelong reader is an accrued skill. It takes practice, yet it reaps tremendous rewards.

Believe it or not, half of Americans don't read for pleasure. They can read, but they say they don't like to or that they are too busy.

The Central Kentucky News-Journal, along with other newspapers across the state, believes it's important to encourage young people to read simply for the fun of it.

Forty percent of Kentucky's working population functions at the two lowest levels of literacy - not being able to read at all or having very limited to moderate reading ability. In other words, about 1 million of Kentucky's 2.4 million working age residents either can't read at all or struggle with it.

With these dismal numbers, it's all the more important to encourage children's interest in reading. At such a tender age, not many are interested in news or events that don't affect them. But if we can catch their attention when they're young, we hope that in time they'll be come lifelong readers.

That's why we participate in the statewide reading project each year. And that's why we're excited.

It's all about encouraging students, families and teachers to read together ... just for the fun of it.