Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published April 30, 2010


Encourages students to partake in summer reading;
Kicks off Scholastic Summer Literacy Campaign

Annapolis, MD (April 30, 2010) – First Lady Katie O’Malley today kicked off a summer literacy campaign and visited with fourth and fifth graders at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School. During her visit, First Lady O’Malley read the first chapter of Ruby and the Booker Boys by Derrick Barnes, and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley. For the second year, First Lady Katie O’Malley has joined other Gubernatorial spouses across the nation and has signed on as a “Reading Ambassador” to help spread the important message about reading books over the summer. In support of their role as Reading Ambassadors, Scholastic has donated 250 books to fourth and fifth grade students in each of the First Spouses’ states for the children to take home and read this summer. Ruby and the Booker Boys was one of many books donated by Scholastic.

“I am thrilled that Maryland will be a part of the Scholastic Reading Challenge for the second year in a row. Through reading, children unleash their imaginations and develop the skills that are vital for personal achievement and our country’s future success,” said First Lady Judge Katie O’Malley. “I am pleased to join other Gubernatorial spouses across America for this fundamental initiative, and I am honored to spend time with the fourth and fifth graders at Hazelwood Elementary school in Baltimore.”

“I am excited to have First Lady Katie O’Malley come to Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School to kick off The Scholastic Reading Challenge to our 4th and 5th graders. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to build an interest in summer reading,” said Hazelwood Principal Sidney Twiggs. “When we read to our students it gives them an opportunity to share experiences and provide them with new information. I cannot think of too many other things more powerful than having the First Lady share her passion for reading and thinking to young minds. The Baltimore City Public School System and the Hazelwood Community would like to thank First Lady Katie O’Malley for coming out to Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School to emphasize the importance of reading.”
In 2009, Governor O’Malley partnered with the Maryland State Education Association to proclaim March as the first-ever “Read Across Maryland” month and launched a statewide literacy initiative to encourage students to read. This year, the Governor expanded this partnership to include the Maryland Library Association and the Maryland Association of School Librarians to increase the number of students participating in “Read Across Maryland.” During the month of March, the Governor and members of his cabinet joined Maryland State Teachers’ Association leaders for classroom visits and reading assemblies at select schools across the state. This year the initiative was intended to encourage children to read all year long, not just in the month of March. In FY2011, Hazelwood Elementary received $1.64 million in Capital funding. The school’s library is being renovated.

For the second consecutive year, Maryland was ranked number one in the nation by both Education Week Magazine for “Quality Counts,” an overall report looking at a variety of policy performance measures, and the national College Board for Advanced Placement participation and achievement.

Maryland’s Participation in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is an essential supplement to the state’s “Read Across Maryland” campaign and continued educational achievement. Research shows that kids who don’t read four or more age-appropriate books over the summer are more likely to fall victim to the “Summer Slide,” the common loss of skills due to being out of school over the summer, resulting in lower test scores when kids return to school in the fall. Research also shows that low income students experience an average summer learning loss in reading achievement of over two months, a greater loss than that of their higher income peers. Kids’ frequency of reading books for fun drops off dramatically after age 8 – the most critical time for children to spend the summer practicing the reading skills they have developed in school. The primary reason these kids say they don’t read for fun more often is that they have trouble finding books they like.

Scholastic, together with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University launch the Scholastic Summer Challenge today, April 30, 2010, to encourage kids to read four or more books over the summer by providing a web-based interactive platform to discover new books and authors. Between May 1st and August 31st, kids can access  to tabulate their daily reading time and participate in an international attempt to set a new world record for summer reading. Schools in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Philippines, and India are fully integrated into the Summer Challenge Program. High records set by the top 20 schools will be published in the 2011 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records.