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Christine Miles, 503-947-5637

June 11, 2012

Trail Blazers, Oregon Superintendent, Multnomah County Library Host “Summer Reading Tip-off”

Summer Reading Program celebrates 100 years; Trail Blazers will reward young readers

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers , Oregon State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo, and Multnomah County Library tipped-off a statewide youth literacy initiative with a press conference and reading event at Midland Library on Monday.

Superintendent Castillo encouraged students of all ages to participate in summer reading programs through their local libraries. In addition, she explained how Oregon students must prepare for a new reading requirement to receive their high school diploma beginning this year.

"We are raising the bar for our students with tougher graduation requirements, and knowing how to read is key to a child's future success," said Superintendent Castillo. "Summer reading programs help kids of all ages improve their reading skills while exposing them to endless options of reading materials."

The Summer Reading Program is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary. Director of Libraries, Vailey Oehlke , announced Multnomah County Library's goal to enroll 100,000 local youth in the program this summer. She also introduced eighth grader Maya Fine, a Summer Reading Program participant, who gave a personal testament to the positive impact of the reading program.

"For the 100th anniversary of our Summer Reading program, we are looking forward to 100,000 kids signed up and reading to keep their skills sharp over the summer and ready for school next year," said Oehlke. "We are very thankful for the assist from the Blazers for their 10 years of enthusiastic support for the program, and their commitment to literacy and reading in our community."

For each student that signs up for the Summer Reading Program, the Trail Blazers will provide a free ticket voucher to a game during the 2012-13 season, a program the team has had in place for the past decade.

In addition, the first 3,000 children to sign up for a library card this summer will receive a free ticket voucher to a Trail Blazers preseason game.

"As an organization, the Trail Blazers support this community's youth literacy development," said Miller. "Our involvement with the Summer Reading Program complements our partnership with the Kia Motors Read to Achieve program, as well as our support of Albina Head Start. We believe today's event advocating early literacy will encourage children to continue reading throughout the summer."

Following the press conference, Jerome Kersey joined Superintendent Castillo to host a reading circle with kindergarteners and first graders from Mill Park Elementary School.

About Multnomah County Library
Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person. To read more about Multnomah County Library, please visit: www.multcolib.org.

About the Oregon Department of Education
The Oregon Department of Education provides leadership for Oregon's PK-12 schools including curriculum, instruction, school improvement efforts, and the statewide assessment system. The Department's priorities include solid and sustainable school funding, ensuring students are ready for school through strong early-childhood programs, closing the achievement gap for minority and disadvantaged students, supporting school and district leadership, and improving the efficiency of the agency.

About the Summer Reading Program
Summer Reading is a program that entices children to read when school is not in session and encourages them to become lifelong library users. Research shows that the reading skills a student gains during the school year are lost if he or she does not read during the summer. Over 98,000 babies, children and teens registered for the Summer Reading program in 2011, making it one of the largest in the nation. About 50% of all youth in Multnomah County participated in the program.

About the Portland Trail Blazers
Members of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Portland Trail Blazers were founded in 1970 and purchased by Paul G. Allen in 1988. The team's rich heritage includes 29 playoff appearances, three trips to the NBA Finals, an NBA championship in 1977 and a commitment to community service and sustainability. With a corporate mission to make it better in the community, the Trail Blazers strive to help children and their families throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington live, learn and play. The Trail Blazers are the first and only professional sports franchise to receive the prestigious National Points of Light Award for excellence in corporate and community service. The Trail Blazers home arena, the Rose Garden, became the first existing professional sports venue in the world to receive LEED Gold Certification. The team is also one of the founding members of the Green Sports Alliance. For more information, visit: www.trailblazers.com.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Christine Miles, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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