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“First Grandmother” Marian Robinson joins Secretary Duncan for Let’s Read. Let’s Move.

by Todd May

Mrs. Marian Robinson, mother of First Lady Michelle Obama, and over 100 local students from Columbia Heights Youth Club’s Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program, the Alexandria Happy Home Child Learning Center and the D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School joined Secretary Arne Duncan at the Department of Education for the fourth installment of the Department’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” summer enrichment series.

In a return appearance to ED for this year’s summer programming, Robinson delighted the crowd with an animated read-aloud of Audrey Wood’sThe Napping Housewhile Duncan entertained students with Maurice Sendak’sWhere the Wild Things Are. Following the readings, Robinson and Duncan participated in a lively discussion with students about topics ranging from favorite books and trips to the library to the size of the White House, the locations of Sasha and Malia’s bedrooms and, most importantly, life with the “first dog”, Bo.

As part of the program, students received free books and healthy snacks, were entertained by RIF’s motivational reading mascot, Riffington, took part in writing and enrichment activities, and participated in a range of fun fitness games like jump rope, hula hoops, basketball, hopscotch and musical chairs.

“Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” is part of the Obama Administration’s United We Serve summer service initiative, a nationwide effort calling on all Americans to make service a part of their daily lives. As part of its role in this initiative, the U.S. Department of Education will invite Cabinet members, public officials and celebrities to read books to children, promote healthy lifestyles and participate in games and fitness activities with children in pre-kindergarten through third grade. The goal of this year’s summer programming, led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, is to get more Americans volunteering to combat childhood obesity and summer learning loss among youth.

The books, refreshments, games, and fitness equipment for “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” have been donated by Target Corporation, which is one of the organizations answering President Obama’s call to service.

The next session will be held on the Department’s outdoor plaza at noon on Friday, July 30th.

Todd May is in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education.

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