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Red Sox Reading Game 2006

With a new season of the MTA Red Sox Reading Game comes an exciting expansion of the association's "Reading Matters" partnership with Boston's home team.

This year, the Red Sox are planning to recognize outstanding teachers and education support professionals.

"All educators deserve a pat on the back and a little applause now and then, but educators selected as Boston Red Sox Most Valuable Teachers will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have the crowd at Fenway Park cheer for them and their hard work," said Josh Bard, a catcher for the Sox who will act as the spokesperson for the MVT program while fellow team catcher Jason Varitek remains the spokesperson for the MTA Red Sox Reading Game.

Educators selected and the students who nominate them will each receive a pair of tickets to a weekend Red Sox Game and participate in an on-field pregame recognition ceremony.

Students can nominate educators by downloading an entry form from the readingmatters.org Web site and writing an essay of 500 words or less. The essay must be mailed it to the Red Sox and postmarked by June 30. Entries will be judged on the merit of the educator's accomplishments as outlined in each student's essay.

As the Most Valuable Teacher program begins, the MTA is again calling for children in communities throughout the state to celebrate reading this summer by entering the highly successful reading game.

"You've got to read to learn – it really is the key to success for every child," said Varitek, the longtime face of the MTA's summer reading campaign.

For the sixth year in a row, thousands of MTA educators will team up with the Sox to promote summer reading by giving them the chance to read their way to Fenway.

The MTA Red Sox Reading Game is open to all K-8 students in the state. Students who pledge to read nine books, one for each position on the baseball field, can enter a drawing to win free tickets to a late-summer game at Fenway. Two hundred students and their teachers will be invited to attend the game on Sept. 10.

Five hundred thousand bookmarks, which also serve as contest entry forms, and 20,000 Jason Varitek Verizon Literacy Champion posters will be delivered statewide to MTA K-8 schools in May.

The program sends the message to Massachusetts children that  "reading is both important and fun," noted MTA President Catherine A. Boudreau.

This year's poster features Varitek reading 86 Years: The Legend of the Boston Red Sox. The book tells the story of the Sox' miraculous 2004 World Series win by starting back in 1918, when Boston was enjoying its fifth World Series victory.

Author Melinda R. Boroson and illustrator Gary R. Phillips bring the legend up to date by taking readers through every heart-pounding moment of the 2004 post-season. A book that can be enjoyed and treasured by all ages, 86 Years uses delightful verse and vibrant illustrations to capture the exhilaration and never-say-die spirit of that momentous time for generations to come.

"We are thrilled to have our book play such an important role in the MTA's 2006 literacy initiatives, said Marie L. Brown, a former reading teacher and CEO of Brown Publishing Network, which develops instructional reading programs for educational publishers. Brown started Brown House Books in January 2005 for the express purpose of publishing 86 Years, which came out last May.
Verizon funds the Red Sox Reading Game as part of its campaign to promote literacy and be America's literacy champion.

In addition to the funding from the Verizon Foundation, the contest receives contributions from The Boston Globe, New England Sports Network, Saturn and Random House Children's Books.

The Boston Globe, which each year runs a full-page advertisement promoting the program, will also feature the MTA Red Sox Reading Game in its Adventures In Reading educational supplement on May 15.

In addition to the MTA Red Sox Reading Game, topics covered in the Adventures in Reading supplement, are:

  • Twelve reasons to read a book.
  • Genres.
  • Finding a book that's just right for a student's reading level.
  • Helping a student understand what he or she is reading.
  • The elements of a story.

For more information, visit the MTA's literacy Web site, readingmatters.org. The site has tips, activities and links to a wealth of resources to help promote reading. It also has downloadable entry forms and additional details about both the Red Sox Most Valuable Teacher program and the Red Sox Reading Game.