|For Immediate Release|
|Sunday, November 9, 2008|
|Contact:||Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106|
Education, State and City Leaders Celebrate the Importance of Reading
Family Literacy Month Kicks Off With Children's Museum Celebration
BOSTON - Massachusetts Family Literacy Month was officially kicked off on Sunday as Boston Mayor Tom Menino joined leaders in education from across the state for an event at the Children's Museum to celebrate the importance of reading.
Throughout November multiple events will be held at libraries and other locations across Massachusetts to encourage reading and to support the work of parents in reading to their children. This is the 12th year the state has celebrated Family Literacy Month.
"Parents are critical to the success of education reform and responsible for the future of education in Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick. "It is essential that communities, libraries and schools provide families with opportunities for family literacy and reading activities that encourage families to read with their children. The Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium and its member agencies encourage and support local efforts to provide high quality family literacy programs that use materials, strategies and approaches to help all children develop strong literacy skills that ensure their success in school and in the workforce."
Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who spoke at the ceremony on Sunday, called for parents to begin reading to their children at an early age.
"A child's education starts when they're born, not when they enter their first classroom," he said. "As leaders in the community, it is important that we emphasize the critical role that parents have in educating their children by reading to them often from a young age. Family Literacy Month not only promotes this education; it shows that reading is fun."
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester agreed.
"There is no more important gift a parent can give their child than the love of reading," he said. "Parents who read with their children give them the solid grounding in literacy they will need to succeed in school, college and in life. I encourage families from across the Commonwealth to participate in this month's special activities, and to read together all year long."
Education Secretary Paul Reville underscored the link between strong literacy skills and academic and professional success.
"One of the most important indicators of a student's future success is their ability to read during their early years in life," he said. "The best way to ensure students develop the skills to allow them to read and read well is for families to spend time reading to their children. Some of my most treasured moments are those spent reading to my daughter. I hope that all families will find the time to regularly read to their children. In this way, we can all celebrate Family Literacy Month."
"Boston Children's Museum is thrilled to host this kick-off event with the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium," said Lou Casagrande, president and CEO of Boston Children's Museum. "Engaging families in learning together is at the heart of what we do. The special events at the Museum on Sunday will provide families with exciting and fun literacy experiences that they can try out together."
Special events will be held this month at community organizations including schools, libraries, adult literacy programs, social service agencies and local businesses. Last year's events included read-a-thons, bookmaking and storytelling events, arts and crafts activities and other programs. A full list of events is posted here: http://libraries.state.ma.us/pages/literacy.
Family Literacy Month is coordinated by the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium. The Consortium is comprised of 14 state agencies, the Boston Children's Museum, Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education, Massachusetts Head Start Association, the System for Adult Basic Education Support, local school districts, family literacy providers and parents. For more information, look online: www.doe.mass.edu/familylit.