MTA Red Sox Reading Game launches new season

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Boston Red Sox and The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation are taking the field for another winning season of books, baseball and student achievement.

An on-field ceremony prior to the April 25 home game against the New York Yankees was the kick off for both the MTA Red Sox Reading Game and the MTA Red Sox Most Valuable Educator program.

The reading game, now in its 10th year, encourages children in kindergarten through eighth grade to read over the summer and gives them the chance to win tickets to a Red Sox game on August 30. The Most Valuable Educator program encourages high school students to nominate teachers and other school staff for recognition during games at Fenway Park.

"Good literacy skills are important no matter what you choose to do in life," said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who is serving as the reading game's spokesman for another season. "Reading is important because it is the surest way to reach your full potential -- to achieve your dreams and to be successful."

"Jason's willingness to play a leading role in the MTA's efforts to promote literacy sends the right message to our students," noted MTA President Anne Wass. "He helps us make the point that reading is not only essential for success, but also an enjoyable activity during the summer and throughout the year."

As part of the kickoff, Patrick Raposo, a fifth-grader from Fall River, and his teacher, Linda Sirop, were recognized. Patrick was the first student to submit an entry form for this year's reading game, pledging to read nine books over the summer.

Also during the pre-game ceremony, a Hanover representative presented MTA Vice President Paul Toner with a check for $60,000 to pay for the literacy efforts. The Hanover is the principal sponsor of both the reading game and the MVE program.

"The MTA Red Sox Reading Game is a fun and exciting educational program that positively impacts local youth, helping them retain what they have learned throughout the school year and to achieve continued academic success," said Linda McGowan, president of The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation. "We are very excited to have the opportunity to support this important initiative, which aligns well with our mission to empower youth to reach their full potential."

In the weeks ahead, seven hundred thousand contest entry forms and 20,000 posters featuring Varitek and team mascot Wally the Green Monster will be delivered to schools throughout the state. The reading game is open to all K-8 students.

To mark the start of the MVE program, four teachers from the Lawrence Middle School in Falmouth were honored.

The teachers -- Adam Thomas, Tom Kelliher, John Long and Jeff Tribou -- pulled over and sprang into action one morning in January when they saw a smoking SUV on the side of the road with flames coming out of its engine compartment. Their quick work is credited with helping to save the life of the driver, who was pulled from the vehicle in the nick of time.

To learn more about the reading contest and the MVE program, visit