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Six New Jersey schools from Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties have been selected to join forces with mayors from their communities, Monmouth University School of Education Dean Lynn Romeo, faculty, administrators, and undergraduate teacher education candidates to promote engagement, interest, and wide reading and writing for first grade students in three counties. A kick-off event and luncheon was held on February 4 at Monmouth University to launch the program.

The following mayors and schools are participating in the Mayor’s Book Club:

  • Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz (James J. Flynn Elementary School, teachers: Darlene Albarran and Iris Gonzalez-Rolle)
  • Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry (James McDivitt Elementary School, teachers: Karen Fraser and Michelle George)
  • Hazlet Mayor David Tinker (Middle Road Elementary School, teachers: Jo Ann Fortino and Jaime Scarfi)
  • Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo (Margaret L. Vetter School, teachers: Jamie Johnson and Lara Neary)
  • Point Pleasant Mayor William Schroeder (Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, teachers: Barbara Kaklamanis and Melissa Miller
  • Brick Mayor Stephen Acropolis (Drum Point Elementary School, teachers: Kathy Keough and Cathy Popp)

The Mayor’s Book Club is designed to support and enhance the literacy development of first graders. The students participating in the program will read a total of eight books over a four-month period starting in January and will have the opportunity to be read to by a special guest reader, their own mayor. Each student who participates in the program will receive a book at the conclusion of the program. In addition, the participating first grades in each school that have read at least 1,000 books will be given $1,000 to be spent on books for their first-grade classroom libraries.

Dean of Monmouth University School of Education Lynn Romeo stated: “We are excited to partner with local mayors and community leaders on this important initiative to help develop strong literacy skills of young readers and prepare them to be successful in the 21st Century.”

The sponsors of the Mayor’s Book Club are Barnes and Noble, JCP&L, NJ American Water, NJ Natural Gas/NJ Natural Resources, and United Water.