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posted: 5/7/2013 5:39 PM

Elgin's community reading challenge kicks off next week

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All Elgin residents -- from babies to adults -- are encouraged to participate in this summer's community reading challenge, spearheaded by the city of Elgin in conjunction with Gail Borden Public Library.

The goal of the "Read on the Wild Site" challenge -- a nod to the library's SuperCroc exhibit -- is to log 100,000 reading hours as a community, said Denise Raleigh, the library's public relations and development division chief.

"We were looking in Guinness World Records book and nothing seemed to fit," she said. "One hundred thousand would be setting a mark that doesn't exist yet. We decided it's huge, it's large, and we really think with everyone working together we can do it."

Parents of young children can read to their kids, or with their kids, she said.

Plans for the all-inclusive reading challenge were unveiled last week at Elgin's first Education Summit, organized by Mayor David Kaptain. The challenges include adults so that "adults can serve as an example to our kids," said Cherie Murphy, assistant to the city manager for community engagement.

Business and community groups are invited to participate in the challenge, Raleigh said.

Also, youth programs, schools and organizations that serve kids can become "gold star partners" by agreeing to sign up children for the program. For more information, contact Ana Devine at (847) 608-5012 or

The reading challenge begins May 15. Participants can register online at, or in person at the main library at 270 N. Grove Ave., or the Rakow branch at 2751 W. Bowes Road.

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