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Let's Read, Let's Move: What Is It?

by Jennifer Hojaiban

America's children continue to struggle with summer learning loss and childhood obesity. As part of the effort to battle this problem, the Corporation for National and Community Service continues our Let's Read. Let's Move. initiative for the summer of 2012.

Let's Read. Let's Move. is inspired by the president's call to service and the first lady's Let's Move! Initiative to promote healthy lifestyle choices when children start their summer vacations. This program is designed to play a major role in changing childhood habits by encouraging service and action in three important areas: physical activity, increasing access to nutritious summer meals, and boosting summer reading to prevent learning loss.

The Summer Slide

Studies have shown that young people lose some of the educational gains made during the school year if they do not continue to engage in learning activities over the summer. Reading five books during the summer will keep kids on track and ready to learn when the next school year begins.

We can all help by making sure kids have opportunities to read and have access to books. You could organize a book drive, spend time reading with kids, or register your school or organization with First Book to obtain books for distribution.

The Summer Slump

Childhood obesity has increased at alarming rates. To reverse this trend, kids need access to healthy, affordable meals and must spend time being physically active during the summer months. Unfortunately, many must overcome a few obstacles to make this change happen.

A sizeable number of American children have limited access to healthy meals during the summertime. This problem strikes particularly hard for the 19 million children who receive free or reduced price meals during the school year because only 2.3 million have access to summer meals. Moreover, even though summer is a great time to play outdoors, many kids lack safe places to play and the opportunity to be physically active.

You can help kids stay healthy by helping the find summer feeding sites, creating a community garden, or rehabilitating a playground. Many individuals and organizations are already addressing these issues by serving in their local communities, and we're sure they can use another set of helping hands.

It is because of this spirit of service that Let's Read. Let's Move. has been successful in the past. You can learn more about the connection between learning and health from the National Summer Learning Association. And more ideas and toolkits are available on the Let's Read. Let's Move. website.

Let's work together to keep kids healthy and engaged this summer. Share your tips on our Facebook wall and with the #LRLM hashtag on Twitter.

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