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A.F.T. and Chrysler Launch Campaign To Urge Parents To Read With Children

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WASHINGTON--The American Federation of Teachers and the Chrysler Corporation last week announced a national campaign to highlight the importance of reading and to encourage parents to read with children of all ages.

Many parents stop reading to their children once the youngsters can read on their own, according to the results of a survey of 503 parents that was commissioned by Chrysler and released in conjuction with the announcement of the campaign.

While 52 percent of parents of children under age 8 who were surveyed said they read to their children every day, only 13 percent of parents of children ages 9 to 14 read to their children regularly, the survey found.

"The good news is that lots of parents read to their children while they are young,'' said Fred Hartwig, a senior vice president of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, the Washington-based firm that conducted the survey. "What we need now is the message, 'Don't quit.' ''

Almost half of the parents of children between the ages of 11 and 14 said that their children spent more time watching television than they did reading or being read to, and only 27 percent said their children spent more time reading than watching television.

Advice for Parents

Children are unlikely to become adept at reading complex material without the involvement and support of their parents, said Albert Shanker, the president of the A.F.T.

While adolescents are likely to resist being read to, Mr. Shanker said parents should read complicated and interesting materials and discuss them with their children or ask their children to read aloud to them from newspapers or magazines.

"Youngsters love to be introduced to more difficult, more adult materials,'' he said. "The key is for the parent to be seen reading and really interested.''

Survey findings were used to develop the Chrysler Learning Connection program, which begins this month with an advertising campaign in several national magazines.

Twelve publications, including both general-interest magazines and those aimed at blacks and Hispanics, will carry three special "advertorial'' sections offering parents tips on encouraging their children to become readers.

Valerie Becker, the administrator of Chrysler's education programs, said the 16-page sections will include tips on helping children develop their reading, writing, and communications skills. They will appear in the magazines in January, March, and May.

Chrysler also plans to announce a series of grants to school libraries next September.

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