Bedminster, N.J.—June 3, 2002—According to the American Library Association (ALA), students participating in a summer reading program are more likely to read at a higher grade level than their non-participating peers. To encourage children to read this summer, McDonald’s New York Tri-State restaurants are launching the fourth annual McDonald’s “Check It Out” Summer Reading Program, which offers students the chance to receive a free Happy Meal for reading during the summer.

“The McDonald’s Check It Out Summer Reading program is designed to encourage more students to read during the summer,” said Michael Giunta, president of the McDonald’s New York Tri-State Owner/Operators Association.

As part of the initiative, McDonald’s locations in the tri-state area will offer “Check It Out” booklets featuring educational and fun activities for students. The booklet also includes information from the American Library Association (ALA) on how families can help their children become better readers.

The Check It Out program is open to all students in grades K-4. Students can receive their free Happy Meal at participating McDonald’s restaurants by redeeming a completed McDonald’s “Check It Out” Scorecard coupon with the names of the five books they have read. To redeem the coupon, students must be accompanied by an adult when bringing in the signed Scorecard.

“Check It Out” is a part of McDonald’s “A+ Parents = A+ Kids”—a yearlong community initiative to promote the importance of family involvement in education. Through “A+ Parents = A+ Kids”, New York Tri-State McDonald’s Restaurants offer grants to help teachers implement family involvement activities; reward families for reading together; recognize family members for being involved in their child’s education; and help educate families on maximizing their child’s learning inside and outside the classroom.

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