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National PTA Announces Grand Prize Winner of Family Reading Challenge

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Heidi May Wilson, Media Relations Manager

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Aug. 25, 2015)—National PTA® has named Julie Spence, president of Garfield Elementary School PTA in Livonia, Mich., the grand-prize winner of its PTA Family Reading Challenge, a campaign that encouraged families to keep learning alive during summer break and make joyful memories by reading great books together. Spence was selected from among thousands of participants for sharing the most compelling photos and messages demonstrating why reading together is a fun and treasured family activity.

“Studies show that reading daily during summer break is the most important activity to prevent learning loss. Research also demonstrates that when families read together, children do better in school and beyond,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA applauds all of the families who participated in the challenge and made reading a priority this summer. We are pleased to recognize Julie for sharing the fun and joy families have when they read together.”

The PTA Family Reading Challenge urged families to share photos and videos of them reading together on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #FamiliesRead to inspire others with their experiences. More than 1,500 photos, videos and messages were submitted, reaching more than 3.1 million people online. Throughout the challenge, participants were recognized with Kindle-sponsored prizes for sharing their family reading moments and capturing the spirit of the challenge.

As the grand-prize winner, Spence has been awarded two Kindle Paperwhite e-readers; a one-year, unlimited Amazon subscription; a trip for her family to National PTA’s 2016 Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.; and tickets to a Disney theme park. She will also serve as a Family Reading Ambassador for National PTA, encouraging families nationwide to read together to support student success.

The PTA Family Reading Challenge was part of the PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle, a national program that is designed to help children become better readers and foster a love of literature through a set of fun, educational games and activities that engage the whole family. The program empowers schools with resources to host PTA Family Reading Experience events as well as features resources families can use at home to support their children’s learning.

In addition to recognizing the winner of the PTA Family Reading Challenge, National PTA and Amazon are awarding a classroom of Kindle e-readers to 50 local PTAs from across the country for PTA Family Reading Experience events. The PTAs were selected to receive the Kindles from more than 200 applicants from low-income schools where 40% or more of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. An interactive map and complete list of the Kindle recipients can be viewed at

“Family engagement and early literacy skills are two critical factors that determine children’s success,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “E-readers are a powerful tool to engage children in reading and enable them to have a large collection of books in the palms of their hands. We’re thrilled to bring Kindle e-readers to classrooms nationwide for family engagement and literacy efforts.”

All schools and PTAs are invited to host PTA Family Reading Experience events using the digital toolkit available at                                                                                                                                                              

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.