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State Education Commissioner, Mayors
to Launch New, Seven-City Model Program
with an Emphasis on Early Childhood Reading

(REMINDER: September 18, 2009)  The New Jersey State League of Municipalities and National League of Cities at 1 p.m., Tuesday, September 22nd at the New Jersey State Library at 185 West State Street in Trenton will launch a new Mayor’s Book Club program designed to build the reading skills of young children.

Commissioner Lucille Davy of the State Department of Education will join the sponsors – and a preschool class of readers – in recognizing the pilot cities engaged in the effort: Clifton, Hightstown, Hope, Jersey City, Mount Arlington, Neptune, and Trenton.

“We all know that investment in young children is key to the nation’s economic future,” said League of Municipalities Executive Director William G. Dressel, Jr.  “Yet, half of the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers already exists before first grade.  Not only does research show that much of the brain’s growth occurs during the first few years of life, but we also know that children who learn to read early have a much easier time picking up social skills – as well as math, science and other educational skills – as they get older.

“The concept of the Mayor’s Book Clubs (MBC) is to expose young children and their parents to the importance of early reading – and thereby increase the likelihood that children grow up in an environment where books are available and literacy is valued.  The MBC model also serves as a rallying point for Mayors to challenge residents to read in search of learning related to problem solving.”

The MBC model is geared to provide Mayors and other city officials with best practice information for organizing a broader array of strategies to promote school readiness, and for spawning increased civic engagement within their communities. 

CONTACT: William G. Dressel, Jr. – – 609-915-9072


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