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Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh Reads to First Grade Students at the Condon School in Collaborative Literacy Initiative

For Immediate Release

Share the Magic Foundation and Read to a Child partner to improve literacy rates and reading proficiency while introducing book ownership to young readers

Boston, MA, December 10, 2018 – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh read aloud today to nearly 100 first-grade students at James F. Condon School in South Boston. The event was sponsored by Super Bowl LI Champion Malcolm Mitchell’s Share the Magic Foundation and national literacy and mentoring non-profit Read to a Child® as part of a collaborative initiative to address the literacy crisis in the United States. Photos from today’s event (from Cynthia August Images) can be accessed here.

Read to a Child and Mitchell’s Share the Magic Foundation – the nonprofit organization which is part of his Read with Malcolm Youth Literacy Initiative – have teamed up with the Boston Mayor’s Office to improve literacy rates and reading proficiency while introducing book ownership to young readers in under-resourced public schools.  Today, every first grader at Condon received a personal copy of Mitchell’s children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat,” which highlights the importance of reading in achieving dreams.

“I’m excited to have Read to a Child and Share the Magic Foundation as partners again this year as we continue to foster a love of reading among our Boston Public School students,” said Mayor Walsh. “These organizations not only donate books, but they give our students hope and encouragement, and that is something that our students will not forget.”

“Mayor Walsh’s commitment to promoting literacy and closing the achievement gap is evident,” said Read to a Child CEO, Paul Lamoureux.  “After seeing the Mayor read Malcolm Mitchell’s book today while conducting a lively interaction with the Condon first graders, his love for Boston public school children is also extremely evident.”

“We are pleased to partner with Mayor Walsh and Read to a Child and provide each Condon school first grade student with a copy of ”The Magician’s Hat” for their home library,” said Beth Pann, Executive Director of Share the Magic Foundation. Malcolm Mitchell added “New England holds a special place in my heart, and inspiring young people to read and to succeed by placing books in their hands is the cornerstone of my mission.”

“Our school is very appreciative of Share the Magic Foundation for providing numerous copies of ‘The Magician’s Hat’ and of Read to a Child for providing so many volunteer reading mentors, said Robert Chisholm, Principal of Condon K-8 School.  “I continually see the results of the dedicated mentors who come each week to read with our students. Not only are students developing a love for reading and improving literacy skills, but as part of the mentoring relationships that develop, their self-confidence is improving as well.”

The Condon School is one of 16 public schools in greater Boston where Read to a Child operates its Lunchtime Reading Program. Read to a Child recruits and manages a force of thousands of corporate volunteers that visit urban elementary schools once a week and read aloud one-on-one to at-risk 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.

Today’s literacy event is part of a collaborative effort between Read to a Child and Share the Magic Foundation to get kids excited about reading through events and programs both organizations offer. The collaborative effort began in 2017 with the organizations sponsoring a series of read aloud events in greater Boston schools and libraries where Malcolm (or celebrities like Mayor Walsh) read “The Magician’s Hat” to elementary school students and provided each student with a copy of the book for their personal library.

In conjunction with Read to a Child’s Magic of Reading Gala and Share the Magic Foundation’s registration for READBowl, Mayor Walsh officially proclaimed the week of November 11-17 as “Literacy Week in Boston.”  READBowl is a national reading challenge that provides teachers with free resources to motivate students to read more in the classroom. The competition begins the day of the College Football National Championship on January 7 and winners will be announced during the Super Bowl on February 3. Classroom teachers can get more information and register for READBowl at www.readwithmalcolm.com/readbowl.

The collaborative literacy initiative will continue through National Reading Month in March 2019.  During the month, Share the Magic Foundation will host its Magical Evening of Literacy Gala with Malcolm Mitchell in Boston and Read to a Child will conduct read aloud events with celebrities as well as host its month-long annual online fundraising campaign “Help Kids in Need Love to Read.”

About Share the Magic Foundation

Share the Magic Foundation (www.readwithmalcolm.com) was founded in 2016 by Author and Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Mitchell with a sole purpose: to transform children’s lives through literacy. The Foundation’s Read with Malcolm literacy initiatives are aimed at inspiring positive attitudes towards reading, especially among students who are below grade-level readers. The mission of Share the Magic Foundation is to inspire young people to read by bringing book ownership to students in Title I schools and under-resourced communities.

About Read to a Child

Read to a Child, www.readtoachild.org, is a national literacy and mentoring non-profit that fosters a love of reading, improves literacy skills, and empowers underserved children by inspiring adults to read aloud to them regularly.  Research shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for eventual success in reading, a key factor for success in school, work, and life.  When an adult reads aloud to a child, both parties have a joyful, rewarding experience that instills a love of reading, improves literacy skills, and enhances a child’s self-confidence. Read to a Child’s Lunchtime Reading Program utilizes more than 1,800 volunteer mentors from over 150 socially-minded organizations who read one-on-one to more than 1,400 at-risk elementary school students in Greater Boston, Detroit, Hartford, Los Angeles and Miami.

Media contact:   Margaret Carr    781-724-8770   margaret.carr@readtoachild.org