Phoenix, Arizona - This week marks the 50th birthday of the national literacy organization Reading Is Fundamental.
There are few things as important as getting a book into the hands of a child, and, for 50 years now, RIF has done its part to ensure more children are reading more books. In 2014, the organization distributed more than 24,000 books in Arizona alone.
Arizona is doing its part, too.
Governor Ducey has put early literacy on the front burner of his education plan, finding innovative ways to encourage children to read and learn—and have fun doing it.
The governor and Mrs. Ducey started their first summer in office by releasing a public service announcement promoting the importance of childhood literacy. That year, Governor and Mrs. Ducey also launched their first summer reading program. The idea: By motivating children and families to visit their local public libraries and sign up for Arizona's summer reading program, families could avoid students losing achievement gains made during the previous school year (often called the “summer slide”).
In addition, Governor Ducey has spearheaded several efforts to show children that reading can be fun. One example? In March, the governor launched his first annual bookmark design contest, encouraging children to design bookmarks to show why they love Arizona. The winner would have his or her designs reproduced and even distributed in the Arizona State Capitol, and he or she would join Governor Ducey for a meet-and-greet.
The contest received 1,800 entries from young people across the state within two weeks.
Arizona is doing its part to increase early literacy and get children excited about reading. As Governor Ducey said, “We know early literacy is a strong predictor of future success,” and we have to do all we can to equip our students for that future success.
FOR GOVERNOR DUCEY, LITERACY IS A KEY PART OF EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE
“There’s no issue in education more unifying, or more pressing, than early literacy.” – Governor Ducey
In August 2016, Governor Ducey Spoke At Read On Arizona’s Literacy Summit, Where He Talked About The Importance Of Early Literacy. GOVERNOR DUCEY: “There’s no issue in education more unifying, or more pressing, than early literacy, and that’s because a child’s success in school, and in life, starts with—and depends on—their ability to read.” (“Read On Arizona Literacy Summit,” Governor’s Office Of Education, 08/23/16)
At The Summit, Governor Ducey Accepted The PaceSetter Award On Behalf Of The State Of Arizona, Saying, “If There’s One Thing Arizona Does Better Than Anyone, It’s Innovation.” GOVERNOR DUCEY: “If there’s one thing Arizona does better than anyone, it’s innovation. Supporting and promoting innovation has allowed us to create new opportunities and solve age-old problems—and now, we’re leading the nation in taking innovative approaches to improve early literacy for our children.” (“PaceSetter Award Acceptance – 2016 Literacy Summit,” Governor’s Office Of Education, 08/23/16)
In May 2016, Governor Ducey And Mrs. Ducey Launched Their Summer Reading Tour To Encourage Students To Read And Learn Throughout The Summer And To Avoid The “Summer Slide.” “Governor Doug Ducey and First Lady Angela Ducey will launch a summer reading initiative with a joint appearance at BASIS Phoenix Central school on May 9, 2016. The initiative encourages Arizona’s youth to stay sharp in their off-time by spending time every day reading and learning throughout the summer months. . . . The summer reading initiative aims to combat ‘summer slide’—the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.” (“Governor Doug Ducey And Mrs. Angela Ducey Visit Arizona Schools To Encourage Summer Reading,” Governor’s Office Of Education, 04/26/16)
Governor Ducey: Reading Throughout The Summer “Is Essential To Maintaining Educational Excellence Year-Round.” GOVERNOR DUCEY: “Making sure Arizona’s students stay mentally engaged and active over the summer months is essential to maintaining educational excellence year-round. Research shows that early-childhood reading proficiency is one of the strongest indicators of a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school.” (“Governor Doug Ducey And Mrs. Angela Ducey Visit Arizona Schools To Encourage Summer Reading,” Governor’s Office Of Education, 04/26/16)
In March 2016, Governor Ducey Launched His First Annual Bookmark Design Contest So That Children Could Showcase Why They Love Arizona. “Arizona Governor Doug Ducey launched his 1st Annual Bookmark Design Contest on March 15, 2016. Arizona children ages 5 – 12 are encouraged to design bookmarks showcasing a ‘Why I Love Arizona’ theme.” (“Gov. Ducey’s First Annual Bookmark Design Contest: #WhyILoveAZ,” Arizona Education News Service, 03/21/16)
As A Prize, The Winner’s Design Would Be Reproduced An Printed On Bookmarks And Distributed To Students In The Arizona State Capitol And He/She Would Join Governor Ducey For A Meet And Greet At The Executive Tower. “The winner of Gov. Ducey’s 1st Annual Bookmark Design Contest will have his/her design reproduced and printed on bookmarks that are distributed to students touring the Arizona State Capitol Executive Tower. The winner will also be invited to the Executive Tower for a meet and greet with Governor Ducey.” (“Gov. Ducey’s First Annual Bookmark Design Contest: #WhyILoveAZ,” Arizona Education News Service, 03/21/16)
Within Two Weeks, The Contest Received 1,800 Entries From Young People Across The State Eager To Make Reading Fun. (“Read On Arizona Literacy Summit,” Governor’s Office of Education, 08/23/16)
In February 2016, Governor Ducey Kicked Off Read Across America Day, Visiting Schools Across The State And Joining Arizona Cardinals Players, Among Others, To Read To Children And Promote An “Essential Life Skill.” GOVERNOR DUCEY: “Reading is an essential life skill. We know early literacy is a strong predictor of future success, both academically and professionally, and I'm pleased that I get to spend my morning reading with some great Arizona students as we celebrate Read Across America Day.” (“Media Advisory: “Governor Doug Ducey To Kick Off Read Across America Day,” Governor’s Office Of Education, 02/25/16)
Governor Ducey, “In The Spirit Of Encouraging Young People To Read,” Talked About The Need To “Celebrate The Authors Who Have Brought Us Such Classics” And Tweeted A #BookOfTheDay Throughout March. (“Remembering The Importance Of Early Literacy On Read Across America Day,” Governor’s Office Of Education 03/03/16; Twitter, 03/05/16; Twitter, 03/07/16; Twitter, 03/12/16; Twitter, 03/13/16; Twitter, 03/30/16; Twitter, 03/31/16)
Here Were A Few Of The Governor’s Books Of The Day On Twitter:
- “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein
- “Goodnight Moon,” by Margaret Wise Brown
- “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle
- “Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” by Judith Voirst
- “Ramona Quimby,” by Beverly Cleary
- The “Harry Potter” series, by J.K. Rowling
In January 2016, Governor Ducey Proclaimed February 14-20 Arizona Adult Literacy Week “[To] Encourage And Promote Literacy And Lifelong Learning Across Our Great State.” (“Arizona Adult Literacy Week: February 14-20, 2016,” Governor’s Office Of Education, January 2016)
In June 2015, Governor Ducey And Mrs. Ducey Launched Their First Summer Reading Program In Order To Motivate Children And Families To Visit Their Local Public Libraries And Sign Up For Arizona's Summer Reading Program. “Governor Doug Ducey launched the Summer Reading Program in June 2015, encouraging Arizona students to spend time every day reading and learning throughout the summer months. The initiative, a partnership with Read on Arizona and other organizations dedicated to the cause of childhood literacy, encourages all Arizona children and families to visit their local public libraries and sign up for Arizona's Summer Reading Program.” (“Summer Reading Program,” Governor’s Office Of Education, June 2015)
Governor Ducey: “Educational Excellence Should Be A Priority Year-Round—Not Just During The School Year.” GOVERNOR DUCEY: “Educational excellence should be a priority year-round – not just during the school year. . . . Picking up a book for at least 20 minutes each day is an easy, fun way for kids to keep their minds active, prevent learning losses and keep all Arizona students on track for a successful future.” (“Summer Reading Program,” Governor’s Office Of Education, June 2015)
In June 2015, Governor Ducey And Mrs. Ducey Released A Summer Reading Public Service Announcement (PSA) To Promote The Importance Of Childhood Literacy.