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AMERICA'S OFFICIAL READING TIME CHALLENGES PARENTS TO TURN OFF THE TV AND READ WITH THEIR KIDS

 IPSWICH, Mass., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- "Don't Count On The System. Don't Blame The Teachers. Education Begins At Home." This is the theme of the 1994 America's Official Reading Time(TM) (AORT) program developed by OSRAM SYLVANIA INC., Danvers, Mass., which encourages parents to shut off the TV and read with their kids for an hour each night.
 "The idea for AORT began two years ago when we became increasingly concerned over the high rate of illiteracy in our country," said Jon DiGesu, marketing communications director, OSRAM SYLVANIA. "We developed the program and a free 'How To Get Your Kids Excited About Reading' booklet because we want families across the country to put reading back into their lives."
 The 1994 AORT program theme, which challenges parents to take responsibility for how much time their children spend watching TV, comes on the heels of this week's survey for the American Federation of Teachers which reinforces the need for parents to serve as reading role models for their kids. Television played a big role in determining reading habits. Fifty four percent of those who watched five hours of television or more each day read only occasionally; 63 percent of those who watched one hour or less characterized themselves as active or moderate readers.
 "As a nation, we have abandoned our children to the blue light of a million TV sets. And now we are paying the price," says Eric Haggman, president Haggman Krimsky and the program's co-creator. "This summer's study conducted by the U.S. government reflected that nearly half of all adult Americans read and write so poorly that it's difficult for them to hold a decent job. This is why we started AORT. Illiteracy is a problem that if left unresolved, it will spiral out of control and become an overwhelming burden on our society," says Haggman.
 "Putting reading back into the home may not sound like a difficult challenge, but when you realize that according to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF)(R), six out of 10 children about to graduate from high school can't read well enough to understand the average newspaper, you'll understand how imperative our mission is."
 According to the Department of Labor, nearly 23 million adults are now functionally illiterate, with less than fourth grade reading skills. And nearly 35 million adults are semi-literate, meaning they are not able to read at an eighth-grade level. Adult illiteracy costs tax payers $225 billion each year by way of lost productivity, welfare and crime.
 For more information on America's Official Reading Time and "How To Get Your Kids Excited About Reading," call 1-800-Light Bulb.
 -0- 11/17/93
 /CONTACT: Emily Haggman of Haggman Krimsky, 508-356-9655, for Osram Sylvania Inc./


CO: OSRAM SYLVANIA INC. ST: Massachusetts IN: REA ADV SU:

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Date:Nov 17, 1993
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