Governor and Lt. Governor Encourage Massachusetts to Read this Summer


June 22, 2018
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karen Polito have joined a growing number of elected officials, local celebrities and readings fans to declare their summer-reads as part of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ (MBLC) What’s your 4? campaign. The MBLC started the annual campaign in 2016 to help children and teens retain skills they were taught during the school year over the summer.

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].

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.

Since 2016, a number of elected officials and other celebrities have given their four books as part of the campaign, including Attorney General Maura Healey, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, and WCVB Channel 5 host Ted Reinstein. This year, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito are participating to encourage children, teens, and adults to read over the summer.

Governor Baker’s four books are:

  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy
  • Big Blue Days: The Story of a Small‑Town Football Dynasty in Swampscott by Robert E. Jauron
  • Montana 1948: A Novel by Larry Watson
  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Lt. Governor Polito’s four Books are:

  • When Character was King by Peggy Noonan
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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.