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2006-08-24 / Top Stories

Free Movies Enticed Kids To Read In Summer Program

By Melissa Prince

Bookworm participants and friends Keanu McFarlane, Kailah Richard-son, Cahron Howard and Michael Nelson. Photos by Melissa Prince Children enjoyed the last movie in this summer's Bookworm Wednesdays program at the Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas movie theatre on August 16.

Bookworm Wednesdays, which is sponsored by National Amusements, Inc., an international leader in the motion picture exhibition industry that operates more than 1,500 movie screens in the U.S. and other countries, allowed children free admittance at participating theaters, if they provided a book report. The program's goal was to encourage children to read over the summer.

Last week ended the eighth year that the program has been in effect. This summer's film selections included "Robots," "Madagascar" and "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory." The final offering, was "Because of Winn Dixie."

Bookworm Wednesdays began at the Linden Blvd. Cinemas on June 28, but did not have a strong attendance because city public schools were still in session. The program later gained popularity at the East New York multiplex with over 100 book report-toting kids showing up some weeks.

Tiffani Alexander, 10 with her younger siblings, Kya, 1, and Christopher, 7. One woman said her children had participated since July 5, the second week of the summer program.

"It's been very educational for them, especially for my daughter who doesn't like to read," she said. Her daughter, Tiffani, 10, said she now reads many books, citing the Goosebumps series as her favorite.

Keanu McFarlane, 11, who showed up for four weeks, said she kept coming back because it gave her something productive to do while school is out.

"It's helped me to read because some-times over the summer, you forget to read," she said.

After children dropped off their book reports, they were guaranteed the free movie, in addition to other incentives to continue reading.

"Before the movie starts, they gave activities to do and read," Michael Nelson, 9, said.

Parents or guardians and children under 6 years old did not need to submit a book report and still received free admission.

Bookworm Wednesdays is a component of National Amusements family friendly programs.

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