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Amazon, PTA Partner on National Reading Effort

The National PTA and Amazon are collaborating on an effort they say is meant to encourage families to promote reading among young children using the company's Kindle e-readers, as well as traditional books and other means.

It's a pairing that would seem to have a potentially wide reach. The PTA has an estimated five million members nationwide. The effort, called the PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle, will be hosted by local PTA chapters around the country.

It centers around a set of free activities, which the organizations describe as a curriculum, that the parent-teacher organization said was developed in cooperation with experts on family engagement and literacy. The curriculum is meant to boost the reading skills of children in grades K-5 in areas such as comprehension, fluency, phonics, and vocabulary, the PTA and Amazon said.

Many of the reading programs will most likely to be based at schools, though they could also be set up at community centers or other settings, said Abi Weaver, the director of strategic commmunications for the National PTA.

Families will go between different stations, each of which have different themes and are meant to cultivate different skills. Only some of those stations will use Kindle e-reading devices, Weaver noted. Others will use traditional books, or games, or other tools meant to build reading skills.

PTA membership is required to gain access to all the resources within the progam. The PTA has already been piloting the project at schools in Baltimore and Albuquerque, N.M. The effort will ramp up to the national level beginning this month.

As part of the effort, Amazon Kindle is donating Kindle e-readers to the PTA to distribute in schools serving economically disadvantaged populations.

"The role of families in literacy does not end when children enter school," PTA President Betsy Landers said in a statement. "Families' continued interest, involvement, concern and caring make a significant difference in this crucial area of learning."

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