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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, December 1, 2002

Readers ring in 2003 a little early

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Authors, celebrities and publisher Scholastic are urging children to start the new year off right by joining a global read-a-thon even before the calendar turns.

More than 7 million teachers and students from around the world are expected to participate in Read for 2003 on Friday, when at noon local time they'll all stop and read together for 2003 seconds (about 33 minutes).

To encourage participation, actor Freddy Prinze Jr., musicians Alicia Keyes, Wynton Marsalis and Lil'Romeo, and children's book authors Marc Brown and Pam Munoz Ryan are among the stars who have posted inspiration messages on Scholastic's Web site.

"Without the ability to read, everything else is nonexistent," Prinze says

Keys says: "Reading can expose you to things you've never known before, to worlds you've never been. It helps increase your imagination and your dreams."

Marsalis says: "When I was growing up, I escaped into the world of books every day, and I learned that reading is FUN. I want you all to read as much as you can because it makes your mind strong, it makes your heart and soul strong."