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For Immediate Release
Friday, November 20, 1998
Contact:John Costello

Springfield Elementary Students Receive Books As a Part Of State's "Spread The Word" Book Distribution Program

Malden - On Friday, November 20, the K-3 students at the Rebecca M. Johnson School in Springfield will be receiving a special delivery - almost 1,700 books collected by parents, students and faculty in a joint book drive at the Mile Tree School in Wilbraham and the Memorial Elementary School in Wilbraham. Three hundred and thirty eight Rebecca M. Johnson School students in grades K-3 will each receive 5 books to take home and keep when they attend a special assembly at their school in Springfield on Monday, November 23, as part of the state's Spread the Word book distribution program that gives books to children who have few books at home, from other children who no longer need the books.

Massachusetts Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said, "Students need to read well, if they are to be successful in school. Children who own books and read them at home are more likely to become proficient readers. The Spread the Word program helps, and I am pleased that it makes a difference."

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 Springfield, students at schools in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford and Worcester are receiving books this year.

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.

The coordinators for the Friday morning delivery are: Rebecca M. Johnson School Principal, Veta Daley at 413-787-6687; Mary Jane Leone, Principal at the Mile Tree School, at 413-596-6921; and Ruth Tichenor, Principal at the Memorial Elementary School in Wilbraham at 413-596-6821.

For more information on Spread the Word, visit the Massachusetts Department of Education website at

Last Updated: November 20, 1998
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