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

"Children reading-or parents reading to, and with, children—is the single most important activity to develop knowledge, skills, and comprehension. Reading is enjoyable, develops closer bonds with parents, and expands the mind beyond our own world."

— 2014 Reading Ambassador Sally Ganem, First Lady of Nebraska

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’ Spouses to emphasize the importance of literacy for all children in their respective states. For the past five years, 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.


2014 Reading Ambassadors

  • Alabama – First Lady Dianne Bentley
  • Alaska – First Lady Sandy Parnell
  • Arizona – Governor Janice Brewer
  • Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
  • California – First Lady Anne Brown
  • Colorado – Governor John Hickenlooper
  • Connecticut – First Lady Cathy Malloy
  • Delaware – First Lady Carla Markell
  • Florida – First Lady Ann Scott
  • Georgia – First Lady Sandra Deal
  • 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 Judge Katie O'Malley
  • 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 Mexico – First Gentleman Chuck Franco
  • North Carolina – First Lady Ann McCrory
  • North Dakota – First Lady Betsy Dalrymple
  • Ohio – First Lady Karen Waldbillig Kasich
  • Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
  • Oregon – First Lady Cylvia Hayes
  • Pennsylvania – First Lady Susan Corbett
  • 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 Dorothy McAuliffe
  • Washington – First Lady Trudi Inslee
  • West Virginia – First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin
  • Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
  • Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead

Summer Reading Event Photos

First Lady Supriya Jindal
First Lady Supriya Jindal visits an elementary school in Alexandria, LA to read to students.

First Lady Georganne Nixon
First Lady Georganne Nixon reads to students at an elementary school in Boonville, MO.


Highlights from the 2014 Scholastic Summer Challenge Reading Ambassadors Program

  • Over the past five summers, the participation of the Governors’ Spouses in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has resulted in nearly 100,000 books being donated to children across the continental U.S. and its outlying territories.
  • In the summer of 2014, 42 Governors’ Spouses and 4 Governors signed on as Reading Ambassadors, donating more than 23,000 books to schools nationwide.
  • In 2014, 1,376,264 kids from 7,334 schools in all 50 states and 29 countries set a new record for summer reading of 304,749,681 minutes!