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Five Special Guests and Five Books: Spotlighting Literacy and Volunteerism at the Final Event in ED’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” Series

by Tiffany Taber

Ed Note: This blog is cross-posted from the ED.gov blog.

“The key to stopping summer learning loss is reading. If a child reads a minimum of five books between June and August, [he] will be on track for success next school year. We need every child to read at least five books this summer and every adult to help,” Secretary Arne Duncan noted earlier this summer at the launch of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Lets Read. Let’s Move.” enrichment series. Today, five special guests demonstrated the importance of literacy and how simple it can be to meet Secretary Duncan’s challenge by reading five books to local children on the Department’s outdoor plaza.

Children from C.W. Harris Elementary School and the HHS/ED Children’s Center in Washington, D.C., heard stories about the earth and friendly trees, zoo animals, Dr. Seuss’sThe Lorax, andBabar the Elephantfrom U.S. Congressman Jim Moran, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Rocco Landesman, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Patrick Corvington, and national musical recording artist Cat Power.

Highlighting the importance of learning and volunteering, Patrick Corvington spoke about the President’s “United We Serve” campaign, which is a nationwide initiative aiming to increase the impact of volunteer service. Representatives and volunteers from CNCS also were on hand to distribute bookmarks and backpacks in an effort to help children prepare for the upcoming school year. Also very popular among the invited children were trading cards that showed a photograph of Bo, the Portuguese water dog who lives at the White House with President Barack Obama and the First Family.

The five special guests at today’s event and the half dozen additional Cabinet members, senior Administration officials, and leading public figures who have participated in “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” all demonstrate the commitment to volunteer service embodied in the United We Serve campaign.

After the readings, children enjoyed receiving free, new books and healthy snacks as well as participating in enrichment and physical fitness activities, courtesy of Target Corporation.

Although the “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” summer enrichment series has come to a close, Secretary Duncan reminded the children to keep reading, keep moving, and to begin the 2010-2011 academic year with strong minds and strong bodies.

Tiffany Taber works in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education.

Click here to read more Strong Minds stories.

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