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      Raising readers at an early age

      Reading a great book--it can take us on untold adventures and heighten our imaginations.

      â??Like discovering things,â?? says Matthew Colavecchi. â??That's what I like about reading."

      And families in Dickinson County are saying that when it comes to reading, the sooner, the better.

      The organization Great Start has begun an initiative called â??Raise a Readerâ??. Itâ??s designed to incorporate parents in the reading development of their child.

      Jonathan and Shelly Ringel of Iron Mountain are the parents of Josiah, a toddler who they say is already learning the key steps to understanding how to read.

      â??Once a reader, always a reader,â?? says Jonathan. â??For the Ringel family, we realize that early literacy is extremely important. He already has been able to start memorizing books, he starts reading pages on his own, he knows exactly what he wants to see in a book, he turns to specific pages.â??

      â??He acts out certain parts of a book,â?? adds wife, Shelly.

      The â??Raise a Readerâ?? program has a goal of getting 5,000 books into the hands of children in Dickinson and Iron counties by October 1, 2013.

      Reading is an activity that is crucial in the development of a child, and when parents can be an integral part of that, together they can take part in raising their reader.