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Utah students sharpen reading skills while learning current events

By Nadine Wimmer | Posted - Sep. 6, 2012 at 10:44 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Thursday was National Read a Book Day, and to honor the occasion KSL News is spotlighting an effort that's bringing a reading resource to every Utah student. You may have seen this in your child's school: the Deseret News' Connect 123.

"I write about books and try to encourage kids to read in my column," said Kate DeGroot, a sixth-grade student at Fox Hills Elementary school.

Degroot is the book reviewer for the Deseret News Connect 123. It's a free, current events reader that goes out to 200 schools — nearly 90,000 Utah students — each month.

Teachers like the tool because it promotes a different kind of reading.

"This is a great way to get them to love non-fiction," said Marcia Craven, a teacher at Fox Hills Elementary.

Parents also love when the papers come home and spark discussion on current events.

"They'll as questions like, ‘Why are we in Iraq? Why are we doing things like that?'" Sarah Wagstaff said, referring to her children. "And (it's nice) to be able to sit down and discuss with them and say, ‘OK, these are the reasons America has chosen to step onto the global scene.'"

The reader is free to any school that would like a subscription — and DeGroot would love to build her following.

"The next book I am going to be reviewing is the second ‘Beyond Foo' by Obert Skye," she said.

In honor of Read a Book Day, the top 40 readers who log the most minutes this month, on KSL's readtoday.com website will get a free copy of "The Janitors: Book 2."

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Nadine Wimmer

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