Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference—Summer Reading Challenge
July 16, 2003

Good morning everybody! It’s great to see so many young readers here! And it’s great to see so many smiles, too!

Today we have many special guests. We have kids here from Serendipity Children’s Center in Tumwater—let’s see you—please raise your hands. We also have some girls and boys from the Olympia Library—raise your hands please. And we have two groups of camp kids here from the Hands On Children’s Museum—let’s see those hands!

Welcome to all of you, and thanks for coming this morning. I can tell that you are all very smart—you must read a lot!

I’d also like to welcome our other special guests today:

· Courtney Schrieve, Executive Director, South Sound Reading Foundation: Courtney is a great champion of reading and a great supporter of the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge.

· Ellen Duffy and Margo Eytinge, Timberland Library System: The Olympia Library is a great partner this year with the Summer Reading Challenge—along with all the libraries in the Timberland regional system.

· Martha Shinners, Washington State Library: Martha works with many Youth Librarians across the state. Martha is coordinating efforts for a collaborative summer reading program in Washington libraries, which will start next summer.

· Jamie Ackleson, Serendipity Children’s Center, Tumwater: Jamie brought 30 kids to the event today.

· Anna Sayre, Hands On Children’s Museum: Anna does great work at the Hands On Museum and she brought two groups of camp kids to the event today.

Our guests today show how the Governor’s Summer Reading Program partners with other summer programs. We all work together to promote summer reading. We all hope kids will read 20 minutes each day as a part of their summer activities. This can be reading in a group, with family members, or by themselves.

Mrs. Locke and I have always read to our two kids, Emily and Dylan, ever since they were babies. They’ve always been interested in books. Now Emily reads to us and to her brother, and Dylan is starting to read too!

So far the Summer Reading Challenge is going very well. Even though we still have the rest of July and August, 361 kids have already finished the challenge. I am so pleased by the enthusiasm of Washington’s young readers. We even had one young reader report 15 hours of reading on June 1st, the very first day kids could report! Last year we had 6,000 Washington kids complete the challenge. We’re hoping to do even better this summer!

How many of you boys and girls are doing the Summer Reading Challenge? I want to encourage all of you to participate. All you have to do is read each day and keep track of how much time you spend reading. Once you have 15 hours, send me a letter or e-mail to tell me about what you’ve read. I will sign a certificate showing you met the challenge, and send it back to you. And your name will go into a drawing for the grand prize—a trip to Disneyland. It’s simple and fun! I hope you will join us. And I hope you will tell your brothers and sisters and cousins and friends to join us too!

I’ve already received lots of letters and e-mails from kids all across our state. I’d like to read a few to you.

I received a letter from Sara, who wrote: “I know the minimum amount of hours is 15, but I couldn’t resist my reading habits . . . I have not read 20 hours or 30 hours, but 45 hours in two weeks.”

And Phillip said in his letter that he has 16 hours. He said: “My dream is to be a doctor when I grow up. I did not like reading when I was little but I do a lot now.”

And Yesenia wrote: “I really loved reading in the Summer Reading Challenge because it was really fun reading for 15 hours.”

I also got a letter from Daniel, who said “Hi! I like reading a lot!”

Malia wrote to me to say: “I love reading.”

And Janice sent a note telling me: “I could go on and on about all the books I like. When I was seven I read part of my uncle’s college book. I have a goal of reading 100 books by October 2003.”

Wow! I love getting all these notes and letters. I hope all of you here today will join the Summer Reading Challenge and send me a note too!

It’s very important to keep reading during the summer. That way when school starts you will be ready to go and keep on learning. You won’t have to spend the first part of the school year catching up again. You will be able to learn new and exciting things, and your reading will just get better and better.

I see some books out there today, and I want to find out what all of you are reading and how you’re doing.

I want to thank everyone for coming today. I will be available for questions from our media guests in a few minutes.

Again, to all of you boys and girls, keep reading. Reading is the key to success in school and success in life. Good luck meeting the Summer Reading Challenge!

Thank you.

Access Washington