After all the excitement of yesterday’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event, six-year-old Jorge exclaimed “I got to play basketball!” when quizzed about his favorite portion of the day’s activities. Yesterday’s event was the second in ED’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! summer series, and many children like Jorge were eager to share their favorite parts of the event.
Jasmine and Analise, 9-year-old cousins from Thomas Stone Elementary, described how excited they were to read their brand new editions of Pippi Longstocking. A group of boys from Horizon’s Greater Washington excitedly shouted out that they learned how to grow stronger, to drink water, to read books, and to exercise.
Over 150 students from the DC area participated in the activities led by Secretary Arne Duncan, two-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington, Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton. The children danced and played Simon Says, sang along with Miss America on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and laughed as Burton read the poem “Peanut Butter Sandwich” by Shel Silverstein. Burton surprised the students when he claimed that he usually reads four different books at once. “I love science fiction,” he told them.
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“Through encouragement at school, from my family, my mom and dad, that’s how my love for reading began,” said Kaeppeler, who read Ladybug Girl and Bingo by David Soman and Jacky Davis, before heading outside to play basketball and pass out fruit and water to the children. The students were also able to take pictures with Arrington, who was happy to have the chance to play basketball with the kids. “Stuff like this, it’s just awesome,” he remarked between photos.
Before leaving, students visited the autograph table where they were thrilled to not only get a new book but also have it signed by Arrington and Kaeppeler. “My first favorite part was getting the new book bag, and my second favorite part was reading and getting the autograph,” said Thin Wut Yi, age 7.
The students weren’t the only ones pleased with all of the activities. “This was wonderful, even with the heat,” said Thomas Stone Elementary School principal Helda Morad. “We’re very thankful.”
Each child left with a new book bag and books provided by Target, snacks, an autographed book, and a smile.
The first Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event was held on July 11th, and two more are scheduled for July 25th and July 30th. The four events support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging summer reading and adults reading to children.
Cydney Adams is a student at the University of Georgia and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach.