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March 21, 2003

Inaugral Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge Comes to Colonial Williamsburg

State champions from the fourth through eighth grades come to Colonial Williamsburg to compete for three college scholarships totaling $50,000 in the March 26 championship round of the inaugural Reader’s Digest National Word Power ChallengeSM–a vocabulary competition and educational outreach program of Reader’s Digest magazine.

Al Roker, best known as one of America’s favorite weathermen, from NBC’s Today Show will serve as official “Quiz Master” in the final round. “The Reader’s Digest National Word Power ChallengeSM is a great opportunity for kids across America to learn in a fun and competitive environment,” said Roker. “I’m excited and honored to work with Reader’s Digest on such an important project.”

Contestants from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., arrive for the opening round of competition on Tuesday, March 25 to determine 10 finalists. Each student faces a series of challenging vocabulary questions, testing the limits of their verbal skills until a champion is crowned.

The competition will take place in the Lane Auditorium at the Bruton Heights School Education Center -- the headquarters for Colonial Williamsburg’s educational outreach activities that build on a half-century-old tradition fulfilling the foundation’s educational mission, “That the future may learn from the past.”

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, Colonial Williamsburg uses the satellite-delivered, interactive television technology of Electronic Field Trips each year to bring the 18th-century to life for more than one million students throughout the United States. Making history exciting and engaging for students is the focus of the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, helping teachers and students meet national history standards through on-site, hands-on immersion experiences in colonial history that provide teachers with interactive teaching techniques and with the skills to train their peers and other educators to translate those techniques to the classroom and make history exciting for their students. The Learning Resource Center, located in the Williamsburg Booksellers at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, provides teachers and students with a wide array of printed and electronic resource materials – including books, audio and videotapes, and computer software -- to augment their knowledge of colonial history and enliven their pursuit of knowledge.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for these young contestants not only to demonstrate their vocabulary skills, but also to visit the restored colonial capital that was so instrumental in the formation of this nation,” said Richard McCluney, Colonial Williamsburg vice president of productions, publications and learning ventures. “The fact that Reader’s Digest chose to conduct this inaugural championship at Colonial Williamsburg underscores not only our longstanding relationship with Reader’s Digest – dating back to the magazine’s founder, DeWitt Wallace – but also Colonial Williamsburg’s leading role in American history education.”

Al Roker Productions, Inc., a multimedia company, will produce a television program of the Reader’s Digest National Word Power ChallengeSM Championship event. The Reader’s Digest National Word Power ChallengeSM is an educational outreach program of Reader’s Digest, the world’s most widely read magazine.

Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is the not-for-profit educational institution that operates the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281