Forty-Two U.S. Governors' 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 promote the importance of summer reading


New York, NY — May 5, 2010 — To further the message to children and families about the importance of summer reading, 42 U.S. Governors' Spouses (to date) have signed on as “Reading Ambassadors,” encouraging children in their states to read four or more books this summer. In this second annual program, as part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge™ global literacy campaign, the 2010 Reading Ambassadors will raise awareness about the importance of summer reading to children, families, teachers and librarians in their states. To support their participation, Scholastic will donate 500 books to a school selected by each First Spouse, to ensure that children have books 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 2010 Reading Ambassadors play an important role in helping tackle the summer reading crisis in their home states. Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation, a trend commonly described as "the summer slide." Low-income students experience the worst decline, losing more than two months in reading achievement. Yet, studies show that reading four or more books over the summer can help prevent the summer slide, improve academic outcomes for youth, and lead to higher graduation rates.

"On behalf of the 2010 Reading Ambassadors, we welcome any opportunity to help promote the importance of books and literacy in today's ever-changing world," said Mikey Hoeven, First Lady of North Dakota, who also participated in the program in 2009. "Summer reading is vital to building a lifelong love of reading, and the Governors' Spouses are doing our part to provide access to books for today’s students."

Following are the 2010 Reading Ambassadors to date:

  • Alaska – First Lady Sandy Parnell
  • American Samoa – First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono
  • Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
  • Colorado – First Lady Jeannie Ritter
  • Georgia – First Lady Mary Perdue
  • Guam – First Lady Joann Camacho
  • Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
  • 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
  • Mississippi – First Lady Marsha Barbour
  • 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 Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
  • 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
  • Ohio – First Lady Frances Strickland
  • Oklahoma – First Lady Kim Henry
  • Oregon – First Lady Mary Oberst
  • Pennsylvania – First Lady Marjorie Rendell
  • Puerto Rico – First Lady Luce Vela
  • Rhode Island – First Lady Suzanne Carcieri
  • St. Thomas Virgin Islands – First Lady Cecile de Jongh
  • Tennessee – First Lady Andrea Conte
  • Texas – First Lady Anita Perry
  • Utah – Lady Jeannette Herbert
  • Vermont – First Lady Dorothy Douglas
  • Virginia – First Lady Maureen McDonnell
  • Washington – First Gentleman Mike Gregoire
  • West Virginia – First Lady Gayle Manchin
  • Wisconsin – First Lady Jessica Doyle
  • Wyoming – First Lady Nancy Freudenthal


The list of "Reading Ambassadors" along with photos from their state events as they occur is available at:

Scholastic, together with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the National Summer Learning Association, is challenging kids to Read for the World Record, to help keep kids reading and learning all summer long. Launched on April 30th, the Scholastic Summer Challenge is a free summer reading program with a robust online community for kids, plus expert advice, engaging activities on Facebook and summer book lists for parents, and resources for librarians and educators.

For more information about Scholastic, visit our mediaroom at Visit to learn more about the Scholastic Summer Challenge.


Scholastic Amanda Hebert 212-343-6657