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The Odyssey gets teens into reading

The Odyssey gets teens into reading

Libraries across New Zealand are joining forces to get more young people reading books this winter. During The Odyssey, a New Zealand teenage reading programme which runs from 14th June - 8th August 2004, teenagers can read books to earn points. And the more points they earn, the more prizes they can win.

The Odyssey programme, which originated in Manukau Libraries in 2001, is designed to promote reading by choice to teenagers, who often read for study purposes, but neglect their own reading for enjoyment. "What we want to achieve with The Odyssey is to fuel young people's appetite for books, to develop their reading skills and literacy through more exposure to books, and build reading mileage, a key factor in the development of literacy skills, "says Kelly McKean, Learning & Literacy Co-ordinator at Manukau Libraries and National Co-ordinator of The Odyssey programme.

In 2002, The Odyssey programme won the 3M award for innovation in Libraries. Last year, Waitakere and Auckland City libraries joined Manukau in running the programme. This year, libraries in Christchurch, Napier, Waipawa, and South Waikato are also offering the programme to teenagers in their area.

Over the next eight weeks, teenagers aged 13 - 17 years can register for The Odyssey at their local library, and depending on the number of books they read over the eight week period, they can enter prize band draws to win a great range of prizes.

And for those who don't find reading easy, here's a tip from Ms McKean: "In The Odyssey, you get rewarded for your reading and you choose books you want to read. All teens that register and read at least ONE book can be entered into the overall draw to win an Xbox. The first step is reading one book, and then it gets easier."

Featured on teens top reads at the moment are futurist war stories, spy novels, stories about friendships and relationships, magic and Wicca subjects, action sport heroes and survival stories based on true life. Also of huge appeal to teenagers are authors that write with a sense of humour and a hint of rebellion in the plot.

Sponsorship for The Odyssey 2004 was gratefully received from Moore Gallagher Print.

More information about The Odyssey programme can be found on http://www.theodyssey.co.nz

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