Middleborough Students Win Summer Smart Reading Challenge


This summer, children and teens across Massachusetts participated in the Summer Smart Reading Challenge, an innovative competition designed to instill a lifelong love of reading in students. Now in its second year, the challenge is a partnership between Mass Literacy and the ed-tech startup Readocity.

Students competed to log the most reading minutes over the summer using the online program Readocity. Now the results are in:

In the category of school, the winner is John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School in Middleborough. They will receive a $1000 grant from Mass Literacy for their school library. Students entering grades seven and eight participated in the program, and they logged a total of  64,000 minutes.

In the category of individual student, the winner is Anna DuFresne, a seventh-grader who is also a student John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School. DuFresne read 1,825 minutes this past summer.

For more information, check out this article in the Boston Herald. 


Mass Literacy and Readocity launch the second Summer Smart Reading Challenge

half page ad 2018For the second year in a row, Mass Literacy and the local education technology startup Readocity have partnered to offer the free Summer Smart Reading Challenge to Massachusetts students entering grades K-12. The challenge inspires a love of books and reading in children and teens while helping them stave off summer learning loss.

Students can participate on their own or through their school. For schools that sign up, Mass Literacy will award a $1000 grant to the school library that logs the most reading minutes on average per student.

Readocity is providing their innovative literacy tool for free as part of the challenge, which allows readers to set reading goals, track their progress, discover age-appropriate book recommendations, and access weekly reading tips to engage readers in discussions about the books they have read.

Summer reading is especially important because it helps children avoid the summer slide, which can cause children to lose up to three months of the academic gains that they made during the school year. Reading over the summer also has many additional benefits.

Readocity’s Chief Literacy Adviser Dr. Andrew Johnson says that one of the best things we can do as parents and teachers is to help children fall in love with books. “The amount of reading students do has been linked to increases in word identification, vocabulary, comprehension, and conceptual knowledge” said Johnson. “The research is very clear: free voluntary reading is very effective and important.”

The challenge runs from July 1 through August 24. Sign up today at


Millis Middle/High School Librarian Invigorates Library with Mass Literacy Champions Grant

Patsy Divver receiving her Mass Literacy Champions Award

Patsy Divver receiving her Mass Literacy Champions Award

Big changes are happening at the Millis Middle/High School Library in Massachusetts. That’s because school librarian and 2018 Mass Literacy Champion Patsy Divver is engaging students in a new way thanks to her Mass Literacy Champions grant.

The grant will be used to purchase new resources, redecorate and create programs to help students feel a sense of ownership in the library. Divver has created a Teen Library Council to lead the way. “These students are enthusiastic, imaginative and willing to work” Divver said.

The Teen Library Council is tasked with researching new books, comfortable furniture and other resources, and then helping to decide what they will purchase for the library. Read More »


How video games can help kids supercharge literacy skills

Video games and literacy

A week ago I sat at a parent workshop about the importance of reading to young children. The contents focused on brain development and bonding. It echoed research that has passed the tests of time. I left inspired and validated. As a long time Reading and Literacy Specialist, I know this message to be true. As a parent of four and grandparent of six, I know that while reading a book can bond us to each other and to other worlds, there is a whole new dimension that today’s child has found in gaming; a world I knew little about, yet had a strong resistance towards. It was with that bias that I intended to find masterly ways of making video games more useful for children. Read More »


Meet our 2018 Mass Literacy Champions

2018 Mass Literacy Champs

On December 2 we announced our 2018 Mass Literacy Champions during our Celebrate Literacy event at the Barnes & Noble Prudential Center. The awards recognize and support outstanding literacy providers, their practices and their programs.

While we planned on selecting five grant recipients, the applicant pool was so talented that we choose eight Mass Literacy Champions. They will each receive a $1000 program grant and a professional video featuring the work of their organization.

For the first time, we also recognized a previous Mass Literacy Champions who has shown continued dedication to Mass Literacy with our Continued Commitment award.

Congratulations to our 2018 Mass Literacy Champions!

Jane Cohen DeHaven – Coordinator for Early Childhood Alliance of Framingham
Patsy Divver – Millis Middle/High School Librarian
Kevin Green – CEO of Seeds of a Father in Springfield
Susan Jaye-Kaplan – Founder of Link to Libraries in Hampden
Lorie Mendoza – Executive Director of Si, Se Puede in Lawrence
Diane Nostin Houle – Manager of Brightwood and Indian Orchard Branch Libraries in Springfield
Julie Roach – Manager of Youth Services at Cambridge Public Library
Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood – Superintendent of Wareham Public Schools

The Continued Commitment award was presented to Maureen Manning, a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion and the Director of Global Education and Family/Community Engagement for Wareham Public Schools.