MPT's ``Reading Rainbow'' offers contest for young writers


March 03, 1997|By Lyn Backe | Lyn Backe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I WAS SMILING big-time one day last week as I left the supermarket. The weather was balmy, I'd planned a great menu as I pushed the cart around (and actually found everything I needed), and life was fine. An older couple passed me on their way into the store, the man saying fiercely, "God, you haven't got the brains of a gnat!"

Judging by the face of his companion, he was not recounting a timely put-down of his best friend. I was very tempted to stop them and ask politely whether he would allow anyone else to speak to his wife that way, and if not, what gave him the notion for an instant that he had a right to?

I do wonder, sometimes, what makes us think it's all right to heap verbal abuse on those we love, usually our relatives, while cultivating and championing civility and communication among relative strangers. I've certainly been guilty of it, I'm sorry to say, but I suspect I'll be listening carefully to myself before I speak for a while.

Meanwhile, I hope that gentleman was calmed by an early daffodil when he got in the store and gave his bride a loving touch.

Contest for young writers

When I started working for the educational television station in New Hampshire nearly 30 years ago, what is now Maryland Public Television was on its way to being a leader on the national scene. MPT continues to be an innovator, particularly in the area of children's programming.

Local children in kindergarten through third grade can enter the third annual Young Writers and Illustrators Awards Contest run by "Reading Rainbow," a show that encourages youngsters to read, on MPT and public broadcasting stations nationally.

The contest challenges children to see pictures for their words, and/or words for their pictures.

Contest entry forms and rules are available at MPT's library reading stations at county libraries and in many schools. The entry deadline in this area is March 15.

Every child who enters will receive a certificate of achievement from "Reading Rainbow's" LeVar Burton. Local first- and second-place winners in each age group will have their stories presented on MPT in May, and Maryland's first-place winner will compete at the national level. Check your local library for contest details.

If you've ever despaired that television is stunting the imaginations of young people, or you want a refreshing creative display, check out the selection of last year's contest winners at; click on FEATURE: Winning Stories.

If you are a teacher who is involved in this project in Annapolis or South County, let me know which students of yours entered, how they did, and whether you're putting up a display of their entries.

Summer rec programs

Registration is open for programs being offered this summer by Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Department. Summer camps, summer playgrounds and school-age child care are available.

Information: Amy Leahy, 222-7300.

Many communities offer summer programs as well: swimming, hiking, camping, team sports. You tell me.

Who's organizing them? Who's coaching? What age levels have extra space? If you are involved with a program that's open to the public and happens in Annapolis or South County, let me know.

Women's Fair

Anne Arundel Medical Center addresses the concerns of younger women, as well as my generation, during the 10th annual Women's Fair from 9 a.m. to 4: 15 p.m. March 15 at the Medical Park campus off Jennifer Road.

Popular author Judith Viorst will be the keynote speaker, advising, "For peace of mind, resign as president of the universe."

The day is co-sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Women's Fair Committee and 15 organizations.

Twenty-three workshop topics will be presented during the day, ranging from money and time management to handling stress and anger, interpersonal communication skills, and financial planning. Other skills that many of us need as well are covered; low-fat cooking and jewelry-making are two examples.

Registration is $8 by March 10, $10 after that. A box lunch can be ordered with advance registration.

Information: 626-0035.

To reach me with Annapolis or South County items for this weekly column, call (410) 626-0273, try e-mail at Lynbacke, or send details to the Sun's Anne Arundel office at 8131 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena 21122.

Pub Date: 3/03/97

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