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Red Sox Reading Game in seventh season

The Read Across America celebration serves as the kickoff for a series of activities designed to get Massachusetts students excited about books and promote literacy throughout the year.

The centerpiece is the MTA Red Sox Reading Game, which is now entering its seventh season.

The game encourages students in kindergarten through eighth grade to pledge to read nine books over the summer, one for each position on the baseball field. It is a team effort that involves representatives of the Sox – including All-Star catcher Jason Varitek, the contest spokesman – and MTA members from throughout the Commonwealth.

Reading game bookmarks, which also serve as contest entry forms, and Jason Varitek Literacy Champion posters will be delivered to MTA K-8 schools statewide in mid-May. The names of students who make reading pledges are entered into a drawing for tickets to a late-summer Red Sox game and other prizes.

A relatively new feature of the collaboration is the Most Valuable Educator program, which honors outstanding high school educators and their students.

The MVE program, which will enter its second season this year, gives high school students the chance to write essays nominating teachers and other educators for recognition. The essays are judged by Red Sox representatives on the merit of the accomplishments, as outlined by the students. The winning educators and the students who nominate them receive tickets to games at Fenway Park.

Information on all aspects of the MTA Red Sox Reading Game will be available this spring on the association's literacy Web site, readingmatters.org. The site has contest details, reading tips, suggestions for activities and links to a wealth of resources to help promote the love of books.