ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico children could win a trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom or ride in a hot air balloon with Gov. Susana Martinez under a program that state officials hope will encourage students to read when they aren't in school.
The governor announced several contests on Wednesday that offer prizes to kids who read at least six books this summer. Children who read a dozen books, and in some instances write short essays, will be eligible for top prizes, such as an expense-paid family trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida. Winners of the grand prizes are selected at random.
The goal is to prevent a drop in the reading proficiency of students during the summer months when they're not attending school. Most of the contests are for children ages 7-10, who are entering the 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade in the next school year. One contest is broader and will allow children from preschool through the 5th grade to participate.
"Learning to read well at an early age is critical to academic success and, ultimately, to success in the workplace and in life," Martinez said in a statement.
The state is partnering with private and public organizations, including the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, the Albuquerque Isotopes and the cities of Albuquerque, Ruidoso, Red River, Socorro.