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Part of nationwide effort to promote academic success

August 24, 2006
Contact: Joe Dee 973 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ — The classic children’s storybook, "The Little Engine That Could," came alive for dozens of Newark-area children when NJ TRANSIT teamed up with the New Jersey Devils this morning for a reading event held at Newark Penn Station.

With children gathered around him, former New Jersey Devils player Rob Skrlac read the book in Newark Penn Station’s Raymond Plaza East Concourse.

"We are thrilled to be invited to visit with and read to children at Newark’s Penn Station," Skrlac said. "Motivating kids to read helps them with an important step towards greater achievement in school."

After the reading, which included each child receiving a copy of the book, the youngsters were treated to a ride on a Newark Light Rail train and to a lesson on safety.

"As an integral part of the Newark community, we welcome the opportunity to participate in this nationwide childhood literacy program,’’ said NJ TRANSIT Assistant Executive Director Lynn Bowersox. "We hope the setting of a bustling rail station sparked their imaginations, and we hope the memories created today will inspire the children to become avid readers."

"The Little Engine That Could" was read to children throughout the country today to promote reading and to encourage parents to read to their young children. Called "Read for the Record," thousands of parents, teachers, mentors and children were expected to participate in the event, sponsored by Jumpstart, a non-profit organization headquartered in Boston. Jumpstart strives to prepare children from low-income communities for scholastic success through programs that aim to build literacy, social skills and critical thinking.

Editor’s Note: Photos of this event are available on request.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 827,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.