The MBLC Wants to Know, "What's Your Four?"


June 12, 2017
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x208

Reading just four books over the summer helps kids achieve academic success, that’s why the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), is asking residents “What’s Your Four?” First Lady of the Commonwealth Lauren Baker has already posted her four, and many more are expected to do the same. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser and many others all shared their “four” last summer to encourage children, teens, and adults to spend time reading during the summer months.

Research shows that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one book or less[1]. Summer reading has also been proven to help prevent the summer slide, which “accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower income students and their middle- and upper-income peers”[2].

“Seeing what others are reading is not only fun, it is also encouraging, especially for young people” said MBLC Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. “Having role models displaying their interest in reading has a positive impact on all residents of the Commonwealth.”

Participants are asked to select four books they plan on reading over the summer months, and post them to social media with a picture of them reading using the hashtag “WhatsYourFour?” Readers are also encouraged to tag their friends in the post to ask them to participate as well. Together, these posts will show people from all over Massachusetts sharing in the fun of reading, and will encourage children and teens to read this summer. Last summer, over 550 books were recommended through 408 posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Massachusetts Summer Library Programs are held at local public libraries across the Commonwealth. In addition to hosting reading programs, libraries provide a variety of other events for local residents including story times, author talks and concerts. On average, 350 libraries offer statewide summer reading each year with over 400,000 participants of all ages. Children, teens and adults who are interested in taking part in a summer library program or the “What’s Your Four?” initiative can find more information at

[1]Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap, Jimmy Kim, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2004.

[2]Why Summer Matters in the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap, Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Frazen, August 2009.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.