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Reading to #039;Make a Difference#039;

Chris Moore has been reading to her 8-year-old daughter Desiree' and her other three children since they were born.

"Desire's first book was 'The Cow Who Could Not Move,'" the Coal Grove resident said. "She loves to read, and when someone wants to read to her, wham! She takes advantage of it."

For that reason, Moore brought her children to the Make a Difference Day Read-A-Thon and Mini-Fair at the Ironton City Center.

Created by USA Weekend Magazine, Make-A-Difference Day is an annual event that takes place across the country on the fourth Saturday of October. Individuals or groups participating decide on a project that helps others.

"This is something happening all across the country, and we have it right here in Ironton," Mayor Bob Cleary said.

This year, Ohio led the nation for the third consecutive year in the number of Make-A-Difference Day projects. More than 330 projects were planned in Ohio in all 88 counties with more than 40,000 people volunteering their time.

Members of organizations such as Ironton Kiwanis, Consumers Helping Consumers and ABLE had information booths set up with information about volunteering.

One of those volunteers was Janet Bowman, a volunteer for Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE), who organized the Read-A-Thon.

"This shows when everyone pulls together, you can do a lot," she said. "You can see a change for the better in the community. I've read to 20 children this morning, and it's been a lot of fun."

"I came here today to read to the little kids," South Point resident Anarose Webb, 10, said. "It gets them interested in reading, and it makes them smart."

"By children learning how to read, it opens up a whole new world for them," Bowman said. "Through working with literacy, I have really seen how people can't do anything if they don't know how to read.

"It's a very dark, scary and hidden world when people don't know how to read," she continued. "Sometimes, adults who can't read will learn little tricks to get by, but I've seen cases in which they've been promoted to a job that requires them to read. They've sometimes lost their jobs."

Bowman stressed the importance of teaching young children how to read because, in some cases, adults are harder to teach to read than children.

Cleary issued a proclamation making the fourth Saturday of October Make-A-Difference Day in the city.

"When Desiree' grows up, she wants to help people and teach them about God," Moore said. "Reading is a very stimulating activity. It stimulates the mind through the pictures and the words. I'm glad they have things like this, and I wish they would have more."