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Winkler, Westport Group Host Read-A-Thon

Actor Henry Winkler, best known for his role as Fonzie on the classic sitcom "Happy Days," is promoting the first annual Smart Kids Read-A-Thon, hosted by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Inc.—a Westport nonprofit that helps parents of children with learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders.

"Reading makes you smarter, it absolutely does," Winkler, the organization's honorary chairman, said in a video on the organization's website.

The Smart Kids Read-A-Thon is an online fundraising event that invites kids from elementary through high school to sign up to read every day during October.

The event, which starts Oct. 1, will not only encourage kids to read for fun, it also will help raise money for the families of the one-in-seven children with learning disabilities. Money raised will support Smart Kids' work promoting research-based reading instruction that makes it possible for nearly all children to learn to read.

Children of all reading levels are encouraged to participate in the Read-A-Thon.

"We want to be sure every child can get beyond the difficulties of reading for school and discover the joy to be found in books, while also helping other children by signing up their friends and family to sponsor their reading goals," Alysa Kabakow, chair of the Smart Kids Read-A-Thon, said in a statement.

Each child's reading goals can be set individually with parental input to ensure that all can get involved, whether they read alone, with a parent or use audio books.

"Research has demonstrated that the more your child reads, the greater the effect not only on his vocabulary development and the store of information he can access, but also on the cognitive processes that promote academic success," Westport resident Margie Gillis, president of Literacy How, said in the statement.

To register or learn more about the group and the fundraising, visit Smart Kids With LD online .

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