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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
Contact:Lynn Boston

East Boston Elementary Students Receive Books as Part of State Book Distribution Program

Malden - On Thursday, March 18, 1999, two hundred and ninety-four K-3 students at the James Otis School in East Boston will be receiving a special gift of almost 1500 reading books collected by the students, parents and faculty of the Memorial School in Natick.

Each K-3 student at the James Otis School will receive 5 books to take home and keep 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.

The Spread the Word program was initiated in 1995 by then Lt. Governor Paul Cellucci and his wife, Jan. This program, now coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Education, will deliver 60,000 books to 12,000 students in eleven school districts.

This successful book drive was coordinated by Principal Joseph Ailinger, who highly praised the efforts of parent coordinators, Kristine Van Amsterdam and Denise Burns, and Memorial School librarian, Mary Ann Lavezzo. "We are pleased to be able to share our joy of books with other children. We hope the boys and girls in Boston will keep books as an important part of their life," said Principal Ailinger.

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

Massachusetts Commissioner of Education 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."

The coordinators for the Thursday morning delivery are: Principal Joseph Ailinger of the Memorial School in Natick, 508-651-7184; and Principal Thomas Connelly of the James Otis School in East Boston, 617-635-8372.

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

Last Updated: March 17, 1999
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