Thursday, June 15, 2000

First ladies salute reading




By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

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Judy O'Bannon of Indiana, Hope Taft of Ohio and Judi Patton of Kentucky film an ad with Maurissa Brown, 2, and Susina Lopez, 3.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        COVINGTON — Zachary Haas can't read and can't vote yet. But the 5-year-old Bellevue boy got to make an endorsement ad with some politicians' wives Wednesday.

        Kentucky's First Lady, Judi Patton, joined fellow first ladies Hope Taft of Ohio and Judy O'Bannon of Indiana Wednesday at Zachary's day care center to record a 30-second TV spot in an ongoing campaign to encourage parents and grandparents to read to young children long before they're old enough for school.

        The public service ad, which is scheduled to air in August on television stations in all three states, is the third in a campaign featuring the first spouses. Mrs. Patton and Mrs. O'Bannon taped ones for their states a couple months ago.

        Like Zachary, most children learn a lot of their language skills in their first three years of life, Ms. O'Bannon said. Mrs. Patton added that reading during pregnancy is a good idea, too.

        Besides, Mrs. Patton added, staying home and reading to the children is an economical form of entertainment.

        “It's so common, it's so easy, it's so cheap,” Mrs. Patton said. “Fifteen minutes a day, that's all it takes.”

        Mrs. Taft said the content doesn't matter, at least at first.

        “It doesn't matter what you read, as long as it's uplifting,” Mrs. Taft said.

        After the 30-minute taping, Zachary listened to Mrs. Taft read Growing Vegetable Soup, Lois Ehlert's picture book on gardening. He prefers books on dinosaurs and the planets.

        “My mommy reads to me,” Zachary said.

        Zachary was one of six children featured in the ad, which was taped at Holmes High School's Chapman Child Development Center.

       



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