MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE and First Lady, Ann LePage kick off February ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Sylvio Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta. Reading to second grade students at the Gilbert School, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience.

“When children are read to on a regular basis it not only helps learn to read on their own, but it also stimulates their imaginations, and helps them discover how to use words when they communicate,” said First Lady, Ann LePage.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in collaboration with First Lady Anne LePage launches the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.

First Lady, Ann LePage reads to second graders at the Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta.

“Reading aloud to children is one of the most effective and highly beneficial methods of building a child’s literacy, said Suzan Beaudoin, Deputy Commissioner for the Maine DOE. “The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day, every day adds up to hundreds of hours of language exposure that can set a child up for high literacy achievement in their educational experiences and throughout life,” she added.

Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.

See a full list of community partners for the 2018 Read to ME Challenge.

A Facebook Live recording of the event can be found on the Maine DOE’s official Facebook page.

The Read to ME Challenge runs through the month of February leading up Read Across America Day which takes place on March 2.

For further information about the challenge contact Lee Anne Larsen, Early Learning Team Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education at