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TO:                   Superintendents of Schools and Elementary School Principals

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              May 13, 2005

RE:                    Read With Me Initiative/Letter From First Lady Karen M. Baldacci

            Principals in your district should already have received a letter from First Lady Karen M. Baldacci.   It announced that the Maine Reads Advisory Board has once again been awarded a major grant from the Verizon Foundation.   This grant will enable the Advisory Board to provide books to each Maine child entering kindergarten this fall.

            The Read With Me initiative encourages parents to read with their children every day.   Each child will receive a carry bag with two books by Maine authors, a bookmark with reading hints for parents, a suggested reading list and other resources.   To participate in this program, principals need to send back the card enclosed with the letter from the First Lady by May 23, 2005.   I hope that all of you will encourage them to do so.

Schools can also receive, from Maine Public Broadcasting, the Read With Me video, demonstrating effective models for reading with children.   Copies of the video are available through the Maine State Library distribution service (287-5620).

            Any questions regarding this initiative can be directed to Sue Plummer at 287-2121.