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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and Elementary Principals


FROM:            J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:             May 8, 2002


RE:                   Read With ME Initiative/Letter From First Lady Mary Herman



            Principals in your district should have received a letter from First Lady Mary Herman, Chair of the Maine Family Literacy Task Force this week.  The good news is that, for the third year, the Maine Family Literacy Task Force has been awarded a major grant from the Verizon Foundation, enabling the Task Force to provide books to each Maine child entering kindergarten in the Fall.


            The Read With ME Initiative encourages parents to read with their children every day.  Each entering kindergarten child will receive a bag with two books, Little Beaver and the Echo by Maine author Amy MacDonald and Read toYour Bunny by Rosemary Wells.  The bag will also contain a bookmark with reading hints for parents, a suggested reading list, and other resources.  To participate in this program, principals must send back the card enclosed with the letter by Friday, June 7, 2002.  We encourage you to do so.


            Schools participating in past years also received a video from Maine Public Broadcasting demonstrating effective models for reading with children.  New Read With ME partners in 2002 will receive the video this year.  Additional copies of the video are available through the Maine State Library distribution service (287-5620).  This year, schools will also receive a copy of Successful Strategies in Family Literacy by our own Becky Dyer.


            Questions regarding this initiative may be directed to Patrick O’Shea at (207) 624-6717.