More than half a million Pennsylvania children ages 3-6 are reached annually through the One Book, Every Young Child initiative, which stresses the importance of reading early and often to young children and how that impacts their future lives.

The program emphasizes ways that adults can engage children in activities, such as talking about a book's cover and illustrations, discussing the action in the book and favorite parts, and making up pretend play games related to the story.

"Literacy skills are the foundation of education and the earlier a child begins to develop these skills the more prepared they will be for school," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.

"Academic success begins at home, long before a child enters a classroom, and the One Book, Every Young Child initiative highlights the crucial role families play in their children's education."

As part of the initiative, there will also be traveling trunks developed by museum educators to help expand upon the concepts of Zachariah OHora's first book, Stop Snoring, Bernard!

Each trunk is filled with fun book-related games and manipulatives for young children, as well as a guide for librarians and educators that encourages use of the trunk contents in activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards.

For the seventh year, Verizon is supporting the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child initiative with a $40,000 grant as part of its commitment to unlock the promise of literacy and enhance lifelong learning.

This grant will provide a copy of Stop Snoring, Bernard! to more than 15,000 Pennsylvania child care, licensed preschool, Head Start, and family literacy programs.

In its inaugural year, 2006, the One Book, Every Young Child program won a coveted, national John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for its comprehensive approach to early literacy.

To promote the value and benefits of reading early and often to preschoolers and to encourage family bonding through books and reading, many of these ideas can be found at www.paonebook.org [1].