Thirty-Nine U.S. Gubernatorial Spouses Become “Reading Ambassadors” to Encourage Kids to Read Four or More Books This Summer

First Spouses Host Scholastic Summer Challenge Events in their States to Kick-Off Summer Reading

New York, NY (May 6, 2009) – To further the message to children and families about the importance of summer reading, 39 U.S. Gubernatorial Spouses (to date) have signed on as “Reading Ambassadors,” encouraging children in their states to read four or more books this summer.  As part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge™ literacy campaign, these Reading Ambassadors will raise awareness about summer reading to children, families, teachers and librarians throughout the country.  In support of their role as Reading Ambassadors, Scholastic will donate 500 books to fourth and fifth grade students in each of the First Spouses’ states for the children to take home and read this summer.  The majority of the Reading Ambassadors will also be hosting summer reading kick-off events at local schools, libraries, or the governors’ residences.

Why Summer Reading?
As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his best-selling book Outliers, “America doesn’t have a school problem, it has a summer vacation problem.”  Research shows:

  • Kids who don’t read four or more age-appropriate books over the summer are more likely to fall victim to the “Summer Slide,” the common loss of skills due to being out of school over the summer, resulting in lower test scores when kids return to school in the fall.
  • Low income students experience an average summer learning loss in reading achievement of over two months, a greater loss than that of their higher income peers.
  • Kids’ frequency of reading books for fun drops off dramatically after age 8 – the most critical time for children to spend the summer practicing the reading skills they have developed in school. The primary reason these kids say they don’t read for fun more often is that they have trouble finding books they like.

“On behalf of the Reading Ambassadors, it’s a pleasure to encourage children to read this summer to help combat learning losses and foster a lifelong love of reading,” said Judge Marjorie Rendell, First Lady of Pennsylvania. “Children’s literacy is a vital and important issue, and the Gubernatorial Spouses are doing our part to provide families and educators with the encouragement, tools, and resources to help guide their children’s reading development.”

Following are the 2009 Reading Ambassadors to date:

Alaska – First Gentleman Todd Palin
Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
Colorado – First Lady Jeannie Ritter
Connecticut – First Gentleman Louis Rell,
Georgia – First Lady Mary Perdue
Guam – First Lady Joann Camacho
Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
Illinois – Governor Pat Quinn
Indiana – First Lady Cheri Herman Daniels
Iowa – First Lady Mari Culver
Kansas – First Lady Stacy Parkinson
Kentucky – First Lady Jane Beshear
Louisiana – First Lady Supriya Jindal
Maine - First Lady Karen Baldacci
Maryland – First Lady Katie O’Malley
Michigan – First Gentleman Daniel Mulhern
Missouri – First Lady Georganne Nixon
Montana – First Lady Nancy Schweitzer
Nebraska – First Lady Sally Ganem
Nevada – First Lady Dawn Gibbons
New Hampshire – First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch
New Mexico – First Lady Barbara Richardson
New York – First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson
North Carolina – First Gentleman Robert Eaves
North Dakota – First Lady Mikey Hoeven
Oklahoma – First Lady Kim Henry
Oregon – First Lady Mary Oberst
Pennsylvania – First Lady Marjorie Rendell
Rhode Island – First Lady Suzanne Carcieri
South Carolina – First Lady Jenny Sanford
South Dakota – First Lady Jean Rounds
St. Thomas Virgin Islands – First Lady Cecile deJongh
Tennessee – First Lady Andrea Conte
Texas – First Lady Anita Perry
Utah – First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman
Virginia – First Lady Anne Holton
West Virginia – First Lady Gayle Manchin
Wisconsin – First Lady Jessica Doyle
Wyoming – First Lady Nancy Freudenthal

For an up-to-date list and more information visit

Scholastic, together with The National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University and Save the Children, launched the Scholastic Summer Challenge on April 30, 2009, to encourage kids to read four more books over the summer to combat the “summer slide.”  All summer long, kids can log on to to join a team, record the minutes they spend reading, and earn points for their team. They can also find great book suggestions for their age and interest, play games, win prizes, connect with other readers, and contribute to a worthwhile cause. At the end of the summer, Scholastic will make a financial contribution to Save the Children’s U.S. programs on behalf of all the participating readers, and the Summer Challenge team with the most points will get to vote on which Save the Children program gets an extra donation. Parents, teachers and librarians can engage in the Scholastic Summer Challenge as well by logging on to explore new multi-media content about kids and reading, get advice from experts, download free lesson plans and materials, and find summer book lists and articles in English and Spanish.

All summer long, kids can view the Summer Challenge LIVE! game show – a replay of the April 30th live webcast where four teams of kids competed to answer questions about well-known children’s books. The game show is hosted by beloved author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jon Sciezska and is available at

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media.  Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teaching resources, television programming, film, videos and toys.  The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Web site,

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