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It's pretty close to miraculous. Studies show that reading to kids while still toddlers yields benefits throughout their lives — from superior academic performance to greater confidence and more-stable lives as adults.

With this in mind, The Detroit News is teaming up with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Hiller's Markets to launch a new drive through the end of March — Today's Readers, Tomorrow's Leaders — that will place books appropriate for children age 5 and younger in needy homes as a way of encouraging parents or guardians to read to their little ones.

If you remember those moments with your children — mine loved the "Frog and Toad" series and "Max and Ruby" — you'll understand why the partners in this project are so excited to spread the joy of reading.

The bottom line? Kids aren't the only ones who benefit — the entire society profits from more literate, competent citizens.

To help bring books to households that might otherwise not have them, just visit detroitnews.com/readers — or drop in at any Hiller's grocery store. You'll be glad you did.

-- Jonathan Wolman, Editor and Publisher

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