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EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR FIRST-GRADERS FUNDED BY CHRYSLER CORPORATION IS COMING TO DETROIT

 EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR FIRST-GRADERS
 FUNDED BY CHRYSLER CORPORATION IS COMING TO DETROIT
 HIGHLAND PARK, Mich., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler Corporation (NYSE: C) announced today that a reading program it funds for first- graders in 11 cities around the country is available for the first time in five Detroit public elementary schools.
 RUNNING START(R) is being implemented at Parker, George Ford, Glazer, Greenfield Park, and Herman elementary schools.
 A key component of the reading incentive program is a challenge that students read, or have read to them, 21 books in a 10-week period. Students at Parker began their challenge Dec. 9. The four other schools' challenges begin in January.
 RUNNING START was developed by Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) with a $2.1 million grant from the Chrysler Corporation Fund. It has operated since the 1989-90 school year in cities where Chrysler has facilities.
 In two related developments announced by Valerie Becker, National Education Program administrator at Chrysler:
 -- The Chrysler Corporation Fund is providing another $1 million to operate RUNNING START for an additional year, beginning in the 1992-93 school year.
 (This brings to $3.2 million Chrysler's total funding to RIF since RUNNING START began in 1989.)
 -- A RIF program for second-graders that has a parental involvement component will be added in fall 1992 in 11 of the cities. Educators in Savannah, Ga., are seeking financial support from other sources.
 Dr. Deborah M. McGriff, Detroit Public Schools general superintendent said: "We are delighted that Chrysler Corporation has decided to continue the program, and especially pleased that Detroit students are participating in RUNNING START. We believe this partnership will enhance education in the Detroit public schools."
 The goal of RUNNING START is to encourage youngsters to become strong readers for the 21st century. The program includes free books to students and classrooms, plus posters, stickers, bookmarks and other materials for schools and homes to help each child, class and family track progress toward the 21-book goal.
 The five Detroit schools were chosen because of their involvement in another Chrysler program, World of Work. Since 1990, Chrysler employees have been volunteering to spend at least an hour a week in the schools helping students understand the relationship between their school work and the skills they'll need to enter the work force.
 "Teachers in the World of Work schools tell us our volunteers have been a benefit to them and the children," said Becker. "What we didn't expect was the positive feedback from the volunteers. They are energized by their time in the classrooms and feel good about the contributions they are making to children and schools. That's a strong foundation RUNNING START can build on," she said.
 The Chrysler employees serve as mentors and tutors in the schools. They read to children, organize clubs and after-school activities, provide field trips, assist with homework and a variety of other activities.
 About 500 Chrysler employees volunteer in 11 World of Work schools in Detroit, Highland Park, Warren, Auburn Hills, Mich., Toledo, Ohio, and St. Louis.
 The program for second-graders builds on a well-known RIF model that gives children the opportunity to select and keep a book three times a year. Parental involvement is a key part of the program. They're encouraged to help organize the book distributions, select books, and develop themes and activities for the students.
 "The program for second-graders will help extend the momentum begun through RUNNING START into the next phase of children's reading development," said Ruth Graves, president of RIF. "Thanks to Chrysler, we are taking kids one step closer to becoming readers for the 21st century."
 RIF is a national non-profit organization that works for literacy where it begins: with America's children. Now in its 25th year, RIF is the nation's oldest and largest reading motivation program. Through its network of local projects and special initiatives such as RUNNING START, RIF works in partnership with schools, businesses and other organizations to help children develop the reading skills that are essential to their future.
 Besides Detroit, RUNNING START is in Highland Park, Avondale and Pontiac, Mich., Toledo, Kokomo, Ind., Syracuse, N.Y., Savannah, Ga., Phoenix, Newark, Del., Huntsville, Ala., and St. Louis.
 -0- 1/6/92
 /CONTACT: James Kenyon of Chrysler Corporation, 313-956-4664; Victoria Heland of Reading Is Fundamental, 202-287-3003; or Rosalyn Whitney of Detroit Public Schools, 313-494-2244 or 313-494-1075/
 (C) CO: Chrysler Corporation; Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.;
 Detroit Public Schools ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


ML -- DE028 -- 6959 01/06/92 14:02 EST
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Date:Jan 6, 1992
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