Reading Ambassadors

Summer Reading Challenge

What is it?

A literacy program by Scholastic and supported by Governors' Spouses to encourage children in their respective states to read every day, especially during the summer months.

Why Summer Reading?

Research shows that regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read over the summer months are less likely to suffer from the “Summer Slide” – the learning or reading losses that take place during the long break from school.

Visit the Summer Reading Site

Josephine Djonovic

“On behalf of the Spouses’ Leadership Committee, we encourage parents and children to read every day and explore these well-crafted summer reading resources. Together we can experience the joy of reading and share the truth of Scholastic's motto, ‘open a world of possible.’”

— 2015 Reading Ambassador Georganne Nixon, First Lady of Missouri

Press Releases

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Online Press Kit

What do Reading Ambassadors do?

The Scholastic Summer Challenge Reading Ambassadors Program invites U.S. Governors and Governors’ Spouses to emphasize the importance of literacy for all children in their respective states. For the past seven years, Governors and Governors’ Spouses have come together as Reading Ambassadors of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge to send a powerful message to the students, educators, and parents in their states about the importance of reading over the summer months.

The Reading Ambassadors play an integral part in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. By pledging to reinforce the importance of summer reading—and the majority committing to hold summer reading events at a local school or library in their state—the Reading Ambassadors help slow the “summer slide” – the learning losses that occur during the summer months when school is not in session.

Reading Ambassadors support families and schools in their states by:

  • Sending a message that summer reading is critical to our children’s success;
  • Making the home-to-school connection during the transitional summer months;
  • Putting books directly into the hands of children who may not otherwise have access;
  • Encouraging students and families to read every day and read aloud together.


2015 Reading Ambassadors

  • Alabama – First Lady Dianne Bentley
  • Alaska – First Lady Donna Walker
  • Arizona – First Lady Angela Ducey
  • Arkansas - First Lady Susan Hutchinson
  • Colorado – Governor John Hickenlooper
  • 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 Dawn Amano-Ige
  • Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
  • Illinois – First Lady Diana Rauner
  • Indiana – First Lady Karen Pence
  • 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 Yumi Hogan
  • Massachusetts – First Lady Lauren Baker
  • Michigan – First Lady Sue Snyder
  • Mississippi – First Lady Deborah Bryant
  • Missouri – First Lady Georganne Nixon
  • Montana – First Lady Lisa Bullock
  • Nebraska – First Lady Susanne Shore
  • Nevada – First Lady Kathleen Sandoval
  • New Hampshire – First Gentleman Thomas Hassan
  • New Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
  • New Mexico – First Gentleman Chuck Franco
  • North Carolina – First Lady Ann McCrory
  • North Dakota – First Lady Betsy Dalrymple
  • Northern Mariana Islands – Governor Eloy Inos
  • Ohio – First Lady Karen Kasich
  • Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
  • Pennsylvania – First Lady Frances Wolf
  • Rhode Island – First Gentleman Andy Moffit
  • South Carolina – First Gentleman Michael Haley
  • South Dakota – First Lady Linda Daugaard
  • Tennessee – First Lady Crissy Haslam
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – Governor Kenneth E. Mapp
  • Utah – First Lady Jeanette Herbert
  • Vermont – Governor Peter Shumlin
  • Virginia – First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe
  • Washington – First Lady Trudi Inslee
  • West Virginia – First Lady Joanne Tomblin
  • Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
  • Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead

Summer Reading Event Photos

First Lady Karen Pence
First Lady Karen Pence visits an elementary school in Whitestown, IN to read to students.

First Gentleman Andy Moffit
First Gentleman Andy Moffit reads to students at an elementary school in North Kingstown, RI.


Highlights from last year's Scholastic Summer Challenge Reading Ambassadors Program

  • Over the past six summers, the participation of the Governors’ Spouses in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has resulted in nearly 125,000 books being donated to children across the continental U.S. and its outlying territories.
  • In the summer of 2015, 44 Governors’ Spouses and 4 Governors signed on as Reading Ambassadors, donating more than 24,000 books to schools nationwide.
  • In 2015, 1.4 MILLION kids from all 50 states and 28 countries registered and read more than 286 MILLION minutes!