Scholastic, the global children's publishing education and media company, today announced that 43 U.S. Governors' Spouses (to date) have signed on as "Reading Ambassadors," to encourage children in their states to read more books this summer, a proven way for students to maintain their reading skills while they are out of school for summer vacation. This is the third year of their involvement as part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge™, and the Reading Ambassadors will raise awareness about the importance of summer reading to children, families, teachers and librarians in their states. In support of the Spouses' participation, Scholastic will donate 500 books to a school selected by each First Spouse, for distribution to children to take home and read over summer vacation. The majority of the Reading Ambassadors will also host summer reading kick-off events at local schools or libraries.
The 2011 Reading Ambassadors play an important role in helping tackle the summer reading crisis. Research on summer reading by Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, faculty members at the University of Tennessee, shows that students who do not read during the summer months are likely to suffer learning losses when they return to school in the fall. However, the solution to the 'Summer Slide' is simple – by letting kids choose the books they want to read and providing them with books to take home over the summer, the majority of kids not only maintain their skills, but make reading gains.
"On behalf of the 2011 Reading Ambassadors, we are proud to work with Scholastic and support literacy again this year," said Michael Gregoire, First Gentleman of Washington. "Summer reading not only helps to reinforce the educational foundation that teachers have worked so hard to create with our students during the school year, but also builds a lifelong love of reading. Reading is the key to a great future, no matter what your interests are, and more importantly, it is just plain fun."
Following are the 2011 Reading Ambassadors to date:
•Alabama – First Lady Dianne Bentley
•Alaska – First Lady Sandy Parnell
•American Samoa – First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono
•Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
•California – First Lady Anne Brown
•Colorado – First Lady Helen Thorpe
•Connecticut – First Lady Cathy Malloy
•Delaware – First Lady Carla Markell
•Florida – First Lady Ann Scott
•Georgia – First Lady Sandra Deal
•Guam – First Lady Christine Calvo
•Hawaii – First Lady Nancie Caraway
•Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
•Indiana – First Lady Cheri Daniels
•Kansas – First Lady Mary Brownback
•Kentucky – First Lady Jane Beshear
•Louisiana – First Lady Supriya Jindal
•Maine – First Lady Ann LePage
•Maryland – First Lady Katie O'Malley
•Massachusetts – First Lady Diane Patrick
•Michigan – First Lady Sue Snyder
•Mississippi – First Lady Marsha Barbour
•Missouri – First Lady Georganne Nixon
•Montana – First Lady Nancy Schweitzer
•Nebraska – First Lady Sally Ganem
•Nevada – First Lady Kathleen Sandoval
•New Hampshire – First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch
•New Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
•North Carolina – First Gentleman Robert Eaves
•North Dakota – First Lady Betsy Dalrymple
•Ohio – First Lady Karen Kasich
•Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
•Pennsylvania – First Lady Susan Corbett
•Puerto Rico – First Lady Luce Vela
•South Carolina – First Gentleman Michael Haley
•St. Thomas Virgin Islands – First Lady Cecile de Jongh
•Tennessee – First Lady Crissy Haslam
•Texas – First Lady Anita Perry
•Utah – First Lady Jeanette Herbert
•Washington – First Gentleman Mike Gregoire
•West Virginia – First Lady Joanne Tomblin
•Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
•Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead
"It's a pleasure to join Scholastic as a 2011 Reading Ambassador," said Lori Otter, First Lady of Idaho, who has participated in the program since 2009. "Through this program, First Spouses from across the country will put 18,000 books directly into kids' hands this summer, inspiring them to continue to read and learn."
"Scholastic is grateful for the support of the First Spouses in the Reading Ambassadors program again this year," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. "The Reading Ambassadors play a vital role in raising awareness of the importance of summer reading in their states and their involvement helps get books into the hands of kids this summer."
An up-to-date list of the participating Reading Ambassadors, along with photos from state events as they occur is available at: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/ReadingAmbassadors.
Scholastic, together with Reach Out and Read, is challenging kids to keep reading and learning all summer long with the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Now in its fifth year, the Summer Challenge motivates kids to read more over the summer and to log the minutes they spend reading as they Read for the World Record. The 20 schools with the most minutes logged will receive recognition in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records. Kids can participate in weekly challenges, earn digital rewards, enter sweepstakes to win fun prizes, and more. Visit www.scholastic.com/summer to learn more about the Scholastic Summer Challenge.