Dept. of Education & Maine's First Lady Kick-Off Annual Reading Challenge

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Second grade students at the Sylvio Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta were treated to story time Thursday with a special guest.

Maine's First Lady Anne LePage helped kick off an annual reading challenge.

In collaboration with Maine's Department of Education, the 'Read to ME Challenge' has been helping communities throughout the state contribute to childrens' literacy growth.

It encourages parents and community members to read out loud to one child or more for at least 15 minutes.

They're then asked to capture the moment by photo or video and post it on social media using the hash tags '#ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME.

The First Lady shared two books Thursday, 'Baxter in the Blaine House' and 'Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs'.

"Second grade is so exciting because we start a lot of nonfiction, and they love that because in second grade it's all about science and a lot about history, biographies. They start reading chapter books, so it's just a really exciting grade," said second grade teacher Samantha Esancy, Sylvio Gilbert Elementary.

Schools and organizations across Maine have joined the challenge to help stimulate the imaginations of children and promote literacy.

The challenge runs all month, leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2nd.