SOURCE: Scholastic Inc.

Scholastic Inc.

May 05, 2010 10:30 ET

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--(Marketwire - 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 deJongh
Tennessee - First Lady Andrea Conte
Texas - First Lady Anita Perry
Utah - First 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: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/ReadingAmbassadors.

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 (NASDAQ: SCHL), visit our mediaroom at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com. Visit www.scholastic.com/summer to learn more about the Scholastic Summer Challenge.