NEW YORK, June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Regardless of their political affiliations, Governors and Governors' Spouses across the country agree that literacy is critical to success. To help children avoid the "summer slide"—the learning loss that can occur when school is out for the summer—44 leaders have signed on as "Reading Ambassadors" of the 7th annual Scholastic Summer Challenge, a free program dedicated to keeping kids motivated to read every day all summer. Each of the Reading Ambassadors has pledged to reinforce the importance of summer reading in his or her state, and the majority have committed to hold summer reading events at a local school or library. In support of their participation, Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education, and media company, will donate 500 books to the school of each Reading Ambassador's choice.
According to the recent Kids & Family Reading Report, nearly half of all parents feel their children do not spend enough time reading books for fun. The same report found that 92% of kids say they are more likely to finish a book they pick out themselves. Summer is a critical time to keep kids reading, and through the work of the Reading Ambassadors, more families will have access to information about reading to support their kids, and more kids in their states will have access to new books to read.
"It's up to us—the parents, teachers, and community leaders across the country—to come together and send a powerful message to our children about the importance of reading this summer," said Carla Markell, First Lady of Delaware and Chairwoman of the Spouses' Leadership Committee for the National Governors Association. "By putting books into the hands of children nationwide, we are encouraging them to develop their vocabulary and comprehension, spark their imaginations, and sharpen their critical thinking skills. Whether reading independently or with their parents, all that matters is that children are reading."
"We are, as always, grateful for the continued support from these Governors and Governors' Spouses," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. "As kids continue to face higher standards in schools across the nation, the Reading Ambassadors serve an invaluable role of helping to keep parents informed about the importance of reading, serving as a reading role-model for all students in their state to follow."
The following Governors and Governors' Spouses are serving as Reading Ambassadors in the 2013 Scholastic Summer Challenge:
- Alabama – First Lady Dianne Bentley
- Alaska – First Lady Sandy Parnell
- Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
- California – First Lady Anne Brown
- 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 Dr. Nancie Caraway
- Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
- Illinois – Governor Pat Quinn
- Iowa – First Lady Christine Branstad
- 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
- Mississippi – First Lady Deborah Bryant
- Missouri – First Lady Georganne Nixon
- Montana – First Lady Lisa Bullock
- Nebraska – First Lady Sally Ganem
- Nevada – First Lady Kathleen Sandoval
- New Hampshire – First Gentleman Tom Hassan
- New Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
- North Carolina – First Lady Ann McCrory
- North Dakota – First Lady Betsy Dalrymple
- Ohio – First Lady Karen Waldbillig Kasich
- Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
- Pennsylvania – First Lady Susan Corbett
- Puerto Rico – First Lady Wilma Pastrana
- Rhode Island – First Lady Stephanie Chafee
- South Dakota – First Lady Linda Daugaard
- St. Thomas Virgin Islands – First Lady Cecile de Jongh
- Tennessee – First Lady Crissy Haslam
- Texas – First Lady Anita Perry
- Utah – First Lady Jeanette Herbert
- Vermont – Governor Peter Shumlin
- Virginia – First Lady Maureen McDonnell
- Washington – First Lady Trudi Inslee
- West Virginia – First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin
- Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
- Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead
An up-to-date list of the participating Reading Ambassadors, along with photos from state events as they occur, are available here.
As part of the 2013 Scholastic Summer Challenge, kids "Read for the World Record" by logging their minutes online at www.scholastic.com/summer or using the Scholastic Reading Timer smartphone app. The top 20 schools with the most reading minutes logged will be featured in the 2014 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records, and the school that logs the most minutes will win a visit from Captain Underpants author Dav Pilkey. Student readers are already well on their way to breaking last year's record of 95,859,491 minutes, having read nearly 70 million minutes to date (program ends September 6). Logging minutes allows students to participate in weekly challenges, earn digital rewards, and enter sweepstakes for the chance to win fun book-related prizes. For more information about Scholastic and the Scholastic Summer Challenge "Reading Ambassadors" program, please visit our media room.
SOURCE Scholastic Inc.