(TMP File Photo)
Put down those electronics and pick up a book this week for the seventh annual UNPLUG & Read!, sponsored by Read To Succeed.
"Read To Succeed is asking all Rutherford County residents to take a moment and unplug. Unplug the TV, the phone, video games and iPods. And, instead, sit back and read," said Sarah Porterfield, program and communications coordinator for the local nonprofit organization.
Read To Succeed started the event as a simple way to promote its mission, which is to raise literacy awareness throughout the community.
"To celebrate the event (and literacy), you can unplug for several hours. But all it takes is a commitment to unplug for five, 10, or 15 minutes at some point throughout the week to bring the event to life," Porterfield said.
This year, readers are asked to pledge the hours that they would turn off the TV and pick up a book during the week at www.readtosucceed.org. More than 250 hours of unplugged reading have already been pledged.
For parents who want to encourage more reading in their homes, Porterfield suggested several options, like simply planning a family reading night or having a family book swap
"Get your family cozy in one room and have a mini read-a-thon," she suggested. "Remember hot cocoa."
Or if one wants to get about and out, plan a library night.
"Haven't been to the public library in a while? Don't have a library card? Pack the family in the car and take a trip to the local library," Porterfield said.
Pledge to read one book
One book readers can pledge to read is this year's One Book selection, "The Fault in our Stars," which focuses on the relationship between two teenagers diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“It is a warmly written and thought-provoking work,” One Book co-chairwoman Laura Beth Payne said. “Our committee was intrigued by its poignant look at philosophy, faith and relationships from the perspective of both adults and teenagers.”
This month, Rutherford County residents will have the opportunity to pick up a copy of "The Fault in Our Stars" in eight designated locations as part of this year’s One Book Crossing.
The copies of Fault have stickers inside telling readers where they can drop off their book when finished, and also a QR code that smart phone users can scan to give reviews and feedback on the One Book website.
All readers can log their book in at www.readtosucceed.org/onebook.htm. This will enter them to win one of two $20 gift cards to Barnes & Noble.
This year’s Book Crossing locations are Linebaugh Public Library, JoZoara’s Coffee Shop, Starbucks on South Rutherford Boulevard, Starbucks on Church Street, Pa Bunk’s, Middle Tennessee Medical Center main lobby, YMCA in Smyrna and the Smyrna Library.
No matter what you read or where you read it, Read To Succeed just hopes you unplug and promote literacy this week.
"Organizers hope the community will carry the message of the event, the importance of reading, throughout the year, and remember to always make time to pick up a book," Porterfield said.
For more information on UNPLUG & Read! and to find out about more events taking place throughout the community, visit www.readtosucceed.org.