State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) will kick off a monthlong reading campaign at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica Friday, March 2, to coincide with the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” Day.

March marks the launch of Read Across California Month, an annual campaign that resulted from Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 62, which Brownley authored.

As part of the campaign, Brownley challenges children to pledge to read “30 Minutes for 30 Days,” which is intended to lead to a lifelong habit of reading.

“I was proud to author this resolution because it encourages private and public partnerships to raise awareness of the importance of literacy,” Brownley said. “Californians will read with the rest of America on March 2, and they will continue reading for the rest of the month. By taking the ‘30 Minutes for 30 Days Pledge’ Californians will increase their literacy skills while fostering a love of reading.”

ACR 62 seeks to reverse California’s illiteracy rate after a national literacy rate study found the state to be below a low national average. According to the national report, 54 percent of grade four pupils and 64 percent of grade eight California pupils tested in early 2009 scored at or above the basic reading level. However, this is below the national average of 66 percent of all grade four pupils and 74 percent of all grade eight pupils.

The March 2 event is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, 1238 Lincoln Blvd. Brownley will speak about the importance of developing a daily reading habit and will read to some of the club members. Derek Kent, author of the young adult book, “Scary School,” will also join in the kick-off activities.