Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker, and Connecticut State Librarian Deborah Schander today launched a re-envisioned 2023 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge that places a stronger focus on increasing summer reading activities and improved literacy outcomes for all students.
The Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge is a statewide competition for schools based on student population and grade level. Since 1996, this premier program has encouraged students to read books over the summer months when they are out of school. The summer reading program also supports community initiatives run by local public libraries and recognizes “Outstanding Public Library-School Partnerships.”
This modernization of the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge will be supported by an investment of $370,000 in funding Connecticut Received from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which will be used for the summers of 2023 and 2024. This funding will strengthen the partnership between the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut State Library, and the Connecticut Association of School Librarians, and to continue to support local school districts and public libraries, while building sustainable partnerships between public libraries and school districts that further support improved statewide literacy outcomes and goals.
Specifically, the investment will:
- Create supportive reading environments through a summer reading ambassador pilot program, which will bring trained reading ambassadors to barbershops, parks, pediatricians’ offices, laundromats, and other areas where students and families have time to read.
- Create a method for participating local libraries and school districts to purchase high-quality reading materials for students and libraries.
- Funds a Summer Programs Coordinator at the Connecticut State Library and iRead membership within the Connecticut State Library to strengthen programming year-round.
Additionally, the 2023 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge winning schools will be chosen through a renewed series of metrics. Previously, the number of books read determined winning districts. For the upcoming summer, top performing districts will be chosen by the percentage of total school student population participating in reading activities over the summer months. This change will ensure all students, regardless of native language, reading level, and learning ability, are encouraged to participate and read. The Connecticut State Department of Education will also be tracking the number of library visits by participating students.
Also included in the challenge for the first time this year are Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s StoryWalk experiences. StoryWalk experiences encourage students and families to read while enjoying state and local parks that offer these activities. Metrics will be tracked on the number of StoryWalk experiences visited by students at participating schools.
For more information on the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, including student journals and district reporting forms, visit portal.ct.gov/SDE/CTRead/Connecticut-Reads.