Schools sweeten reading challenge

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Education > LANL, other entities offer Chamber Checks for students

By Tris DeRoma

The Los Alamos School Board and Los Alamos Public Schools have added a little more incentive for students to participate in some summer reading.
Thanks to a little help from the community, children participating in the “New Mexico True Summer Reading Challenge” will have some extra prizes to look forward to once they reach the July 31 deadline.
The idea came from a recent Los Alamos school board meeting, where school officials and the board discussed adding some extra prizes for the students who participate.
As a result of that meeting, as well as conversations with the county, the students can look forward to more than $5,000 worth of extra prizes, thanks to the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, LANL Foundation and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The prizes will come in the form of “Chamber Checks,” that winners can use in local businesses.
For its part, the board also made a motion to contribute up to $1,000 to the fund. The Los Alamos National Laboratory foundation contributed $1,500, LANL itself contributed $1,000, the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation contributed $1,000 and Los Alamos County contributed $1,000.
“The more of our kids go through this program, the better off that we as a district are and the better prepared our kids are,” said Los Alamos School Board President Jim Hall. “Full support for this program is important in the long term for the district.”
Superintendent of Schools Kurt Steinhaus said he was glad the district was able to lend its support to the contest. “It’s important that we partner with parents to encourage kids to read as well as be strong supporters of economic development,” he said.
At the state level, the top prizes include:

• An all-expense-paid family vacation to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
• Hot air balloon ride with Governor Susana Martinez and First Gentleman Chuck Franco
• Family of four overnight stay at Hotel Albuquerque
• Admission to High Noon History Tour and the Ghost Tour of Old Town
• Tickets for Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway rides
• Two tickets to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, with lunch
• A chance to be “Junior Zookeeper” at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo
• Free tickets to a Lobo basketball game, participation in a center court ceremony, meeting with the head coach and an autographed Lobo basketball.
• Meeting with an Aggie head basketball coach, free tickets to an Aggie basketball game, participation in a center court ceremony at the Pan Am Center, receive an autographed Aggie basketball
• Family four-pack of admission tickets to the New Mexico State Fair and a concert or a rodeo event at the Tingley Coliseum.
• Dig fossils with the state’s paleontologist

Children who haven’t signed up yet can download an entry form at ReadingChallenge.ped.state.nm.us.
Parents and kids can also find out more about the program at the same web address.
The primary guidelines include registering for the challenge and reading at least six books. If a student reads 12 books and submits the essay about what they like about New Mexico, those students will be automatically entered to win one of the grand prizes, as well as receive a New Mexico True Bookmark and a certificate from the governor.
Those that read just six books receive a signed certificate from the governor and a New Mexico True bookmark. All entries must be postmarked by July 24.
Those interested can learn more information at readingchallenge.ped.state.nm.us