On May 20, Gov. Dannel Malloy kicked off this year’s Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, a statewide program coordinated by the Connecticut Department of Education and Connecticut State Library since 1996.

The program, which recognizes schools with the highest participation rates and the highest number of books read per student, supports community initiatives run by local public libraries and recognizes Outstanding Public Library-School Partnerships.

“If we want our children to thrive in school and have a bright future, we need to cultivate an early love of reading,” Malloy said in a press release. “We are making progress. Connecticut students are among the top readers in the country and our graduation rate continues to climb.”

Malloy said the state’s summer reading program “keeps students going strong over the summer with books that ignite their imagination and develop critical reading skills.”

Middlebrook School was honored during the 2014 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge awards ceremony for its participation in the 2013 reading challenge, during which its students read just under 6,000 books.

To learn more about the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, visit ct.gov/sde/ctread.