Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin kicked off the state’s Read to ME Challenge at Sanford Regional Technical Center by reading If Only… to a group of spirited pre-k students. This is the eighth year that the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with schools, parents and communities on this month-long public awareness campaign to promote the importance of literacy for all of Maine’s students, regardless of age. You can watch video of Makin kicking off the challenge here.
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.
Makin also spent time talking with students who are part of Sanford Regional Technical Center’s early childhood education program. Students in the program split their time between their own classroom and interacting with children in the pre-k classroom. Sanford was also able to expand to full day pre-k this year after receiving a grant through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.
“The Read to ME Challenge is about creating a love of reading with children and promoting literacy across our state—and it’s fun,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Not only did I get to read to an amazing group of pre-k students today, but I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with high school students who are working hard to become future educators through this amazing early childhood education program at Sanford Regional Technical Center.”
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.
See who Commissioner Makin Challenged!