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A whole new world

By Robin Dearing
I've had a couple of my adult friends tell me that when they were kids their parents would force them to stop spending all their time reading books and go outside to play. I know how their parents feel. My kid is a reader. She just learned how — I mean, she started kindergarten knowing the reading basics, but couldn't actually read alone — and now she'd rather read than anything else. This is a problem that I'm very happy to have. Last weekend, we signed her up for the Mesa County Public Library's summer reading game. The goal of the game is for children to read 50 books or spend 5 hours reading. For every 10 books they read, they get a prize. Monday when I met my daughter and husband for lunch, they had just come from the library. Margaret had earned three prizes for the 30 books she had read so far. She had also received her very first library card inscribed with her name in that unmistakable almost-6-year-old scrawl. It is a beautiful sight. She had also checked out a huge stack of new books from which she could complete the book reading program over the next couple of weeks. After dinner that same day, I asked Margaret if she wanted to ride her bike with me around the block. She looked up from her book with an annoyed glare, carefully pointed to the book program score card and said, "Um, I need to read." Dramatic pause, "So I can finish the program." Then she went back to reading. Yeah, she just had to finish the book program in three days. Don't get me wrong, I love that she has found a place in her life for reading. Finding joy in books is a gift. But I hope that I don't end up having to punish her by sending her out to play.

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