Press Releases


Governor Rell's "Summer Reading Challenge" Encourages Children to Nurture Love of Books

Launching the ‘2006 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge,’ Governor M. Jodi Rell today stressed that reading for pleasure is one of most important activities young people can undertake – and summer is a great time to enjoy it to the fullest.

“We have often said that reading is the most important academic skill of all, but it really goes beyond success in school,” Governor Rell said. “Reading is a key to success in life itself.

“When we encourage a love of reading in children, we are encouraging a lifetime of enjoyment. We are also fostering learning and knowledge about the world around us. This means a head start toward achievement in school, success in the workplace, understanding of other people and places, and the satisfaction of a good life,” the Governor said.

“Not only that – reading is just plain fun!” said the Governor, who joined Education Commissioner Betty J. Sternberg and State Librarian Kendall Wiggin to kick off the 2006 summer reading challenge at the State Library’s Memorial Hall in Hartford.

Governor Rell noted that her love of reading was nurtured by her family, teachers and public libraries, just like thousands of Connecticut schoolchildren today. Among her favorite classics as a young person was Silas Marner, published in 1861 by an Englishwoman under the pen-name George Eliot. Today, the Governor enjoys reading autobiographies, mysteries, best-sellers and other genres, besides her daily diet of government materials.

“As a child, I was given the opportunity to begin a lifetime of reading enjoyment,” Governor Rell said. “It is great to share my enthusiasm for reading with kids today.”

Coordinated by the Department of Education and the State Library, the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge is designed to encourage children to read books during the summer, at home and at their local library. Since 1996, more than six million books have been read by children involved in the summer reading program. This year’s theme is, ‘Read, Understand, Grow!’

“As librarians and teachers, we know that children who read during the summer do better in school,” said Mr. Wiggin. “The schools and libraries being honored have demonstrated that by working together summer reading programs can more effectively reach more children and their parents.”

The Department of Education is sending materials and posters to schools and libraries around the state to encourage students to be part of “Connecticut Reads 2006: the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge…Read, Understand, Grow!” The campaign helps link the efforts of school and public library summer reading programs, relaying a strong message about the importance of reading to students and parents.

“Last year more than 1 million books were read by children in 800 schools – the most books read in any year,” said Commissioner Sternberg. “Research shows that reading is vital to a child’s cognitive development. It builds language skills and thinking strategies. The best thing parents can do is to encourage their children to read, read, read.”

A highlight of today’s event was recognition of libraries and school districts that partnered to promote the 2005 summer reading program. The E.C. Scranton Memorial Library and Madison Public Schools have been named winner of the Outstanding Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge Award.

Receiving awards of merit were Canton Public Library and the Canton Public Schools; Cora J. Belden Library and the Rocky Hill Public Schools; Essex Library Association, Ivoryton Library Association, Essex Elementary School and the Essex Elementary PTO; Lucy Robbins Wells Library and the Newington Public Schools; and Simsbury Library and the Simsbury Public Schools.

For more information about the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, students and families can contact the Department of Education’s Office of Communications at 860-713-6548.
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CONTACT: David Dearborn, 860-524-7313