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

Visit the Press Kit

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Online Press Kit

Josephine Djonovic

“My fellow Reading Ambassadors and I are honored to serve the students of our respective states by encouraging them to read over the summer months, helping our children discover new worlds through reading, and empowering them to become lifelong readers. We have worked hard in Virginia to close the summer nutrition gap by expanding access to summer meals for kids. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has helped us combine books and healthful meals to keep kids growing and learning all year long.”

— 2017 First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, Chair of Governors’ Spouses Program for the National Governors Association

Press Releases

What do Reading Ambassadors do?

The Scholastic Summer Challenge invites U.S. Governors and Governors’ Spouses to serve as Reading Ambassadors 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.


2017 Reading Ambassadors

  • Alabama – Governor Kay Ivey
  • Alaska – First Lady Donna Walker
  • American Samoa – First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga
  • Arizona – First Lady Angela Ducey
  • Arkansas – First Lady Susan Hutchinson
  • Connecticut – First Lady Cathy Malloy
  • Delaware – First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney
  • Georgia – First Lady Sandra Deal
  • Guam – First Lady Christine Sonido Calvo
  • Hawaii – First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige
  • Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
  • Illinois – First Lady Diana Rauner
  • Indiana – First Lady Janet Holcomb
  • Iowa – First Lady Christine Branstad
  • Kansas – First Lady Mary Brownback
  • Maine – First Lady Ann LePage
  • Maryland – First Lady Yumi Hogan
  • Massachusetts – First Lady Lauren Baker
  • Michigan – First Lady Sue Snyder
  • Minnesota – Governor Mark Dayton
  • Mississippi – First Lady Deborah Bryant
  • Missouri – First Lady Sheena Greitens
  • Montana – First Lady Lisa Bullock
  • Nevada – First Lady Kathleen Sandoval
  • New Hampshire – First Lady Valerie Sununu
  • New Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
  • New Mexico – First Gentleman Chuck Franco
  • New York – Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
  • North Carolina – First Lady Kristin Cooper
  • North Dakota – First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum
  • Northern Mariana Islands – First Lady Diann Torres
  • Ohio – First Lady Karen W. Kasich
  • Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
  • Oregon – First Gentleman Dan Little
  • Pennsylvania – First Lady Frances Wolf
  • Rhode Island – First Gentleman Andy Moffit
  • South Dakota – First Lady Linda Daugaard
  • Tennessee – First Lady Crissy Haslam
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – Governor Kenneth Mapp
  • Utah – First Lady Jeanette Herbert
  • Vermont – First Lady Diana McTeague-Scott
  • Virginia – First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe
  • Washington – First Lady Trudi Inslee
  • West Virginia – First Lady Cathy Justice
  • Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
  • Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead

Summer Reading Event Photos

Governor Doug Ducey and First Lady Angela Ducey read to students at an elementary school in Phoenix, AZ.

Rhode Island First Gentleman Andy Moffit visits students and hands out books at an elementary school in Central Falls, RI.

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

  • Over the past seven summers, the participation of the Governors’ Spouses in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has resulted in nearly 150,000 books being donated to children across the continental U.S. and its outlying territories.
  • In the summer of 2016, 39 Governors’ Spouses, 3 Governors, and 1 Lt. Governor signed on as Reading Ambassadors, donating more than 21,500 books to schools nationwide.
  • In 2016, 250,000 kids from all 50 states and 25 countries registered and read more than 204 MILLION minutes!