PLATTSBURGH If youve been at Champlain Centre any given Thursday, youve probable noticed a group of people rather enthusiastic about reading outside Kay Jewelers. Theres good reason for that. Theyre part of Journey into Reading, a local early literacy program staffed by volunteers who want to share the joy of reading with others. Program coordinator Alice Sample said the program continuously strives to drive home the importance of reading. Its a wonderful program, said Mrs. Sample. We donate so many books to children thanks to people who make donations to us. The way it works is simple. Children and their families are invited to come listen to stories read by volunteers between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. Not only do they get to hear two or three stories, they get to take home their own book free of charge. Theyre very happy to get a book of their own, said Mrs. Sample. Along with the books, parents receive flyers about reading to infants and toddlers and other literature stressing the importance to read to children as early as possible. The program began 10 years ago, when, Mrs. Sample began reading books donated by Mountain Lake PBS to children twice a month. In May 2002, the program grew after a parent told Mrs. Sample her son entered kindergarten already reading after learning of the importance of reading from her years before. Mrs. Sample then applied and was approved for the program to become a Reading is Fundamental site. After contacting Champlain Centre management for approval, the program had a new home at the Smithfield Boulevard shopping center where it remains today, connecting with families and spreading the message about reading on a weekly basis. Today, thanks to the generosity of many donors more than 14,000 books have been donated to local children. That ability is further helped by organizations like the Plattsburgh Teachers Association, which donated $600 toward the program. A donation such as that can buy 200 books enough books to donate to children for one month of the program. It can go a long way, said Mrs. Sample. If you would like to help the Journey into Reading program, volunteer your time to read to children and their families or donated used books in good condition, contact Mrs. Sample at 561-4213. Tax-deductible donations can addressed to the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, the not-for-profit organization that has serves as the financial clearing house for the program. Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 2640, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901.