|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, September 25, 1998|
425 Lawrence Elementary School Students Receive Books as Part of State Book Distribution Program
MALDEN - Four hundred twenty-five students in grades kindergarten through three at the Arlington School in Lawrence each received five books delivered today by Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll. This is part of an ongoing state initiative to distribute books as gifts to children who own too few, donated by children and families who no longer need them.
Each student received five books to take home. Books were donated by students and families of the Comprehensive Grammar School in Methuen, Hardy School in Arlington, and Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School in Franklin.
Commissioner Driscoll said, "Owning a book is an important first step for a student to become a proficient and lifelong reader. This program links children and families who have books with children and families who have few books at home. It is inspiring to see the number of students, parents and teachers who are excited about the program and have made a great effort to collect books at their schools and at home."
Schools with students designated to receive books are identified based on results of the 1998 Iowa Grade 3 Reading Test. Schools that reported the highest percentage of students reading at low levels were selected to receive books this year. In addition to Lawrence, students in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Fall River, Holyoke, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester are receiving books this year. Donated books have come from students in schools throughout the state, and are being collected at 71 Starbucks locations statewide as well.
The "Spread the Word" program was initiated in 1995 by then Lt. Governor Paul Cellucci and his wife Jan. This year's program, coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Education, will deliver 60,000 books to 12,000 students in eleven school districts.