Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin kicked off the state’s Read to ME Challenge at Solon Elementary School today by reading Mel Fell to Mrs. Currie’s second grade class. This is the seventh year that the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with community organizations and schools on this month-long public awareness campaign to promote the importance of literacy for all of Maine’s students, regardless of age.
The Read to ME Challenge encourages adults to read to children for 15 minutes, capture that moment via a photo or a video, and then post it to social media and challenge others to do the same using the hashtag #ReadtoME. The Department of Education will be highlighting Read to ME Challenge events throughout the month, including with Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta and Maine Department of Inland Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner Judy Camuso.
“Read to ME is a simple yet powerful challenge that promotes literacy and a lifelong love of reading for children—and it’s fun,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “When you read aloud to a child it helps them build their own reading and vocabulary skills, exposes them to the world, establishes reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity, strengthens their bonds with trusted adults, and provides a foundation for future success as adults. I encourage everyone to join educators, parents and others across the state by completing the Read to ME challenge and making a difference for Maine children.”
The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure, which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement and helps them build knowledge and vocabulary. Research demonstrates a number of benefits to reading to children, from birth through their childhoods and even teenage years, including modeling reading as an enjoyable lifelong activity, stimulating brain development, reducing stress and anxiety, building knowledge of the world, and helping develop the skills necessary to succeed in their lives.
Schools and community organizations can find a toolkit and resources on the Department of Education website and the Department will be sharing videos, photos, and updates from the challenge all month long on social media. Participants in the challenge are reminded to use the hashtag #ReadtoME and to tag the Maine DOE at @mdoenews on Twitter, @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 on Facebook, and @mainedepted on Instagram.