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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

GARNER (May 3, 2001) -- Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster John Forslund spoke to students at Garner's Creech Road Elementary School Thursday to kick off the Pick Up a Book and Read program.

Through various stories about his broadcasting career and his childhood, Forslund encouraged the students to discover the exciting world inside books.

"When I began reading, I would read and read and, after a little while, I started to get sleepy," said Forslund. "I told my teacher and she asked me, 'John, what do you like to do?' At the time I was learning to play hockey, so we found a book on hockey. That's what opened up my mind."

Forslund stressed the importance of reading materials that stimulate the imagination and keep reading interesting.

Second grader Christopher Stewart raised his hand to that and said, "I know what imagination is. It's a place in your mind where you can do anything and go anywhere you want."

That's the response that Wake County Public Schools and the Hurricanes want to get from participants in the Pick Up a Book and Read program. The program focuses on students in grades 3-8 in the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) and encourages improvement in reading and comprehension.

Beginning in August, ALP teachers will log the progress of students. Those showing marked improvement will be rewarded in October with a trip to the Entertainment and Sports Arena to take in a Hurricanes practice, enjoy a pizza party and meet Hurricanes players.

To promote the program, posters and bookmarks featuring defenseman David Tanabe and center Josef Vasicek will be given to approximately 12,000 area students.

In addition to Forslund, Hurricanes Vice-President of Marketing Communications Ken Lehner spoke to the students about reading. Lehner talked about differentiating the shapes and sizes of people and animals and related that to the different shapes and sizes of words and books.

Lehner's comments encouraged students to read books of all kinds ranging from subjects of interest to imaginative stories. He stressed through books students could visit that place in the mind that Stewart mentioned.

The Hurricanes plan to visit more schools at the beginning of the 2001-02 school year to promote the program when it officially kicks off.

Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at


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