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Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh Reads to Children at Adams Elementary in Read to a Child’s Lunchtime Reading Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang and Eastern Bank President Bob Rivers Participate to Highlight the Value of Non-profit/Corporate Partnerships in Closing Achievement Gap

Boston, MA, March, 24, 2016 – National non-profit literacy and mentoring organization Read to a Child® announced that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh read aloud to children in its lunchtime reading program today at the Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston. The mayor was joined by Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang, Eastern Bank President Bob Rivers and Read to a Child CEO Paul Lamoureux to highlight the importance of non-profit and corporate partnerships to help close the achievement gap and boost literacy skills in greater Boston public schools. Photos from today’s event can be downloaded at the link at the end of this release.

Adams Elementary School is one of 17 public schools in greater Boston where Read to a Child operates its lunchtime reading program. Read to a Child enlists and manages a force of 1,500 corporate volunteers from more than 100 organizations that visit urban elementary schools once a week and read aloud one-on-one to children during lunch. This time spent with a caring adult ignites a love of reading in struggling children, while providing students with the skills and self-confidence to succeed in school and in life.

“I applaud Read to a Child and its innovative model of utilizing volunteers from area corporations to act as reading mentors in public schools,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “Eastern Bank’s community involvement and its partnership with Read to a Child to provide funding and volunteers is exactly the type of non-profit/corporate partnership that can strengthen the city’s efforts in boosting literacy and socio-emotional skills among our students.”

“We know that increasing literacy in our youngest students leads to much greater academic success in later years,” Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang said. “This is a major factor toward closing the opportunity and achievement gap. I am thankful to Eastern Bank, Read to a Child CEO Paul Lamoureux, and all of our community partners for helping us in these crucial efforts.”

“Alarmingly 80% of 4th graders from low-income families in the United States are not proficient readers and 2/3rds of these struggling readers will end up on welfare or in jail,” said Read to a Child CEO, Paul Lamoureux. “Mayor Walsh and Superintendent Chang are well aware of this literacy crisis and their mutual commitment to developing literacy skills and closing the achievement gap was evident today. We also thank Eastern Bank and our other corporate partners for their growing support, which is critical in enabling Read to a Child to serve the hundreds of struggling children that remain on our waiting lists in resource-challenged schools.”

“Eastern Bank is pleased to support Read to a Child and its vital work improving literacy in communities across eastern Massachusetts,” said Eastern Bank President, Bob Rivers. “To support the work of outstanding non-profits, Eastern Bank utilizes our Charitable Foundation to contribute, in a meaningful way, to the health and vitality of the communities in which we operate. Supporting Read to a Child’s work in bringing community volunteers into under-resourced schools is a natural investment for us and a fantastic way for us to give back to the communities served by Eastern Bank.”

At today’s event, students from the Adams Elementary presented Mayor Walsh, Superintendent Chang and Eastern Bank President Bob Rivers with personal copies of Dr. Seuss’s newly released book ‘What Pet Should I Get?,’ each signed by the children in the lunchtime reading program. The Mayor went on to read this book to the students, which lead to a lively discussion. Because the book ends without revealing what specific pet is taken home from the pet store, the Mayor elicited strong opinions from all of the students about what pet they thought should have been chosen by the books characters.

After the read-aloud session, the Mayor and Superintendent briefly interrupted reading pairs in the nearby lunchtime reading program classroom (who were in the midst of regularly scheduled weekly reading sessions) in order to thank volunteers from Read to a Child corporate partners Acadian, CTP, Eaton Vance, Standard Life and The Boston Company. These students, and their reading mentors, were thrilled by the visit and also took the opportunity to take some photos.

“I deeply value our partnership with Read to a Child because I see the results of the dedicated mentors who come each week to read with our students,” said Hannah Irvin, Samuel Adams Elementary School Principal. “In addition to the mentoring relationships that develop, I see our students learning to love books. As a former reading teacher, I believe strongly that developing a love of reading gives children an important tool to ensure that they are lifelong learners. Our partnership with Read to a Child is an important part of helping our students become lifelong readers and lifelong learners.”

Today’s event, although fun for all, also served to highlight the necessity to fund literacy initiatives and coincided with Read to a Child’s annual online fundraising campaign to ‘Help Kids in Need Love to Read.’ In March, Read to a Child’s goal is to raise $100,000 in order to add 6,000 additional reading sessions for ‘kids in need.’ All proceeds from the campaign, which has currently raised more than $60,000, will fund Read to a Child’s lunchtime reading program, which pairs more than 1,100 at-risk elementary school children with volunteer reading mentors. For more information about the campaign or to donate to “Help Kids in Need Love to Read,’ please visit: https://goo.gl/2FPQaE.

The campaign also features a fun ‘March Madness’ themed ‘Book Bracket Challenge’ where iconic children’s book titles are facing off daily on Read to a Child’s Facebook page at facebook.com/readtoachild.org. By popular vote, the initial lineup of 32 children’s books is being narrowed to a ‘sweet sixteen’, ‘elite eight,’ ‘final four’ and ultimately a ‘champion.’ The campaign runs through the end of National Reading Month and closes on March 31, when a National ‘Book Bracket Challenge’ Champion will be named.

About Read to a Child:

Read to a Child, http://readtoachild.org, is a national nonprofit literacy and mentoring organization that inspires caring adults to read aloud to at-risk children to create better opportunities for their future. Research proves that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading and, thus, likelihood for success in school and life. Read to a Child currently partners with more than 100 corporations and institutions nationwide that provide 1,500 volunteers who read aloud to more than 1,100 at-risk students in greater Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami, as well as urban centers in Connecticut.

Images from today’s event can be downloaded here

Media contact:
Alex Nichipor
Read to a Child
781-489-5910
alex.nichipor@readtoachild.org