ED Wraps Up Its Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Summer Series

Special guest Dora the Explorer joined Secretary Duncan and ED Senior Advisor on Early Learning Jacqueline Jones to encourage young students to be physically active and to keep reading during the final Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event at ED headquarters Tuesday afternoon.

Duncan and Jones read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems, sparking an animated discussion with the children over what would happen if the book’s pigeon began to operate a motor vehicle, one particularly enthused young student shouted “he would go to jail,” much to the amusement of the adults in attendance.

Following the Let’s Read portion of the event, the students joined Dora in exploring the obstacle courses and participating in physical activities. The fitness activities are part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to emphasize the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle.


Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

This week’s event marks the end to the 2011 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series; for more information on the initiative and its sponsors, read our previous posts on this summer’s first, second, and third Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events.

Noah Bokat-Lindell and Simone Zhang are interns at the Department of Education.

Let’s Read! Let’s Move!, Part III

(Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams)

“You don’t have to be a professional writer to tell a story. So go out and tell a story!” Maya Soetoro-Ng told a group of young students gathered for ED’s third installment of its Let’s Read! Let’s Move! summer series.

Soetoro-Ng, an author and half sister to President Obama, joined former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Draft, Top Chef alumnus Spike Mendelsohn, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Robert Velasco II, and ED’s deputy chief of staff Eric Waldo at ED headquarters to encourage young students to be physically active and to keep reading.

Following the Let’s Read! portion of the event, the students joined Draft and YMCA staff in navigating an obstacle course and other physical activities during the Let’s Move! segment. The fitness activities are part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to emphasize the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle.

For more information on the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series and its sponsors, read our blog about this summer’s first and second Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

The final Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event is scheduled for July 26.

Noah Bokat-Lindell is an intern in the Office of Legislation and  Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education.

Kicking Off the 2011 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Series


From left to right, Arne, Attorney General Holder and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” read U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week to over 100 students from DC area schools and Early Head Start programs at ED’s first installment of this year’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series held at ED headquarters. Holder joined Secretary Duncan, NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan in kicking off the 2011 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series that seeks to increase awareness of the importance of summer learning and encourage adults to read to children.

Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan. Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams

Holder offered a spirited rendition of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, while Abdul-Jabbar read Mina Javaherbin’s Goal, a book about a group of South African children who overcome bullying to follow their love of playing soccer. Following the reading, students discussed the importance of reading, eating healthy, and staying fit and participated in a series of fitness stations as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! initiative.

After the activities, the students snacked on fruit and granola bars and received an autographed children’s book from Scanlan. Each school that participated in the event received a book for its school library signed by all the celebrities at the event. Students from Joint Base Anacostia Bolling Youth Center, Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc., Children’s Choice Learning Center, and the Parents Coalition of Montgomery County attended the event.

ED’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series brings together Cabinet members, administration officials and other public figures to read children’s books and promote healthy lifestyles. ED’s partners for this year’s series include the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington Physical, Healthy, Drive (PHD) program that will contribute staff and resources to conduct games, Target will provide books and healthy snacks, and Nickelodeon will provide cookbooks and pedometers.


Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

See more photos.

Additional Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events are scheduled for July 12, 20, and 26.

Noah Bokat-Lindell and Eugene Smith are interns at the Department of Education.

“Let’s Move!” Rolls to a Rocking Rhythm

Harlem Globe Trotter Anthony Blakes shoots hoops with kids attending a “Let’s Move!” family fun fair at the Harlem Children’s Zone in NYC, which included participation from regional ED staffers.

Last week Secretary Duncan joined First Lady Michelle Obama on a phone call to congratulate schools that have started Let’s Move! programs and to encourage other schools to do the same. This was a check-in after one year of the initiative.

ED has done its part to support the effort by participating in commemorative events across the country. From joining kids in a giant Kansas City conga line to teaching students to make fruit and veggie smoothies in Keene, NH, ED’s regional communications and outreach staff worked with HHS and USDA counterparts to highlight progress towards healthy lifestyles at nationwide events in February. They helped to identify great school-based fitness and nutrition programs to showcase in their regions and were part of joint federal teams to generate strong community participation for those activities aimed at supporting the First Lady’s campaign that combats childhood obesity.

Regional staff members were active participants at 9 of the Let’s Move! events. Their contributions were diverse. The Philadelphia office discussed the vital link between healthy habits and academic achievement and later helped at the Bethlehem, PA, Broughal Middle School celebration. The Denver office participated in the Commerce City, CO, family fair. At events respectively in Keene, NH, and Grand Prairie, TX, the Boston and Dallas offices encouraged students to try celebrity chefs’ nutritious culinary treats at home. The Kansas City office attended several local activities, including an opportunity to rock-n-roll alongside Ingles Elementary School students. Chicago office staff performed stretches led by “Benny the Bull,” the Chicago Bulls’ mascot, with students of Chicago’s Namaste Charter School. And New York helped guide families to diverse exhibits aimed at inspiring healthy food and fitness choices at New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone — the inspiration for ED’s Promise Neighborhoods program.

The Atlanta office joined the First Lady at Atlanta Public Schools’ Burgess-Peterson Academy, where Mrs. Obama handed-out fresh blueberries to excited students and teachers, and toured the organic garden.

“It’s a conversation about what our kids eat and how active they are,” Mrs. Obama later told parents and community leaders at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, near Atlanta.  She said that it’s “about how they feel about themselves, and about what that means — not just their physical and emotional health, but for their success in school and in life.”

Julie Ewart is the Senior Public Affairs Specialist in the Chicago Regional Office. She is the mother of three school-aged children.

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

“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’s The Lorax, and Babar the Elephant from 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.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.

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
Office of Communications and Outreach

More Photos

Congressman, Actor, and Advisor to President Join Secretary Duncan for “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.”

Congressman, Actor, and Advisor to President Join Secretary Duncan for "Let's Read. Let's Move."On Friday during the fifth installment in the U.S. Department of Education’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” summer enrichment series, Secretary Arne Duncan hosted U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin; Kareem Dale, special assistant to the President of the U.S. on disability policy; and Quinton Aaron, the actor who portrayed football star Michael Oher in the movie “The Blind Side.”

Congressman Langevin read a book called House Mouse Senate Mouse by Peter W. Barnes and engaged children in a lively discussion about how laws are made in Congress, using the example of passing a bill to establish a national cheese, which was depicted in the book. Both for the characters in the book and for the children gathered in the “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” audience, American cheese was the winner by a landslide in the national cheese debate. Kareem Dale read the Braille version of If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier, telling the stories of two fictional children, Ben and Claire, who decide to run for the highest national office. Mr. Dale also shared what it is like to work with President Barack Obama.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.

Congressman, Actor, and Advisor to President Join Secretary Duncan for "Let's Read. Let's Move."After the book readings, actor Quinton Aaron spoke to the children about his involvement with the “Quarterbacks of Life” student mentoring program, which uses real-life stories to help students, beginning in the fourth grade, to achieve success in school and in life. The mentors teach children that success is attained most often by individuals who make responsible decisions, provide support to teammates and friends, and who have dreams, high self-esteem, and a “can-do” attitude.

Children attending Friday’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” program hailed from across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia attending the Stafford Junction Summer Camp and Stafford Public Schools, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, the Maryland School for the Blind, Meridian Public Charter School, and the St. Patrick’s Episcopal Horizons Program. As part of the “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” program, children received free books and healthy snacks, engaged in enrichment activities, and participated in a range of fun fitness games.

“Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” is part of the Obama Administration’s “United We Serve” initiative, a nationwide effort of the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service that calls on all Americans to make service a part of their daily lives. The books, refreshments, games, and fitness equipment for the program have been donated by Target Corporation, which is one of the organizations answering President Obama’s call to service.

On Tuesday, August 3, the Department will host the final session in the series on its outdoor plaza with special guests U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Congressman James P. Moran, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington, and musical artist Cat Power. 

 Tiffany Taber
Office of Communications and Outreach

More Photos

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

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.


Click here for an accessible version of the video.

In a return appearance to ED for this year’s summer programming, Robinson delighted the crowd with an animated read-aloud of Audrey Wood’s The Napping House while Duncan entertained students with Maurice Sendak’s Where 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
Office of Communications and Outreach

Photos

Washington Redskin Chris Draft and Teammates Join Secretary Duncan for “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.”

Washington Redskin and education activist Chris Draft and 100 local students from Wheaton Woods Elementary School and Columbia Heights Youth Club joined Secretary Arne Duncan at the Department of Education (ED) for the third installment of ED’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” summer enrichment series.


Click here for an accessible version of the video.

Draft read his book, “Do You Want to Play Catch?” and joined Duncan and teammates H.B. Blades and Rocky McIntosh for a discussion on the importance of staying fit and healthy, reading and learning over the summer, and the future prospects of the Washington Redskins. After the discussion, students signed up for D.C. library cards, selected free books and healthy snacks, took part in writing and enrichment activities, and participated in a range of fun fitness games, including jump rope, hula hoop, basketball, hopscotch, and musical chairs.

Washington Redskin Chris Draft and Teammates Join Secretary Duncan for Let's Read. Lets Move.

“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, ED is inviting 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, featuring Mrs. Marian Robinson, mother of First Lady Michelle Obama, will be held on the Department’s outdoor plaza at noon on Thursday, July 22nd.

Todd May
Office of Communications and Outreach

More photos

Transportation Secretary LaHood Joins Secretary Duncan for Let’s Read. Let’s Move.

Transportation Secretary LaHood Joins Secretary Duncan for Let’s Read. Let’s Move.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and local D.C. students from Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School joined Secretary Arne Duncan yesterday for “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” at ED headquarters in Washington, D.C.  LaHood read The Little Engine That Could to students and joined Duncan for a discussion about the book and the importance of summer learning, physical fitness and healthy eating.  Following the reading and discussion, students received a free book; enjoyed healthy snacks; engaged in writing and enrichment activities; and rotated through fitness and game stations featuring jump rope, hula hoops, basketball, bowling, putting, ring toss, corn hole, duck-duck-goose, hopscotch and musical chairs.

The goal of this new program, 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.

“For far too many children, reading achievement stalls when schoolwork stops over the summer,” Secretary Duncan said.  “In fact, most low-income children can lose more than two months of reading skills progress during the summer break.  The key to stopping summer learning loss is reading.  Children who read a minimum of five books between June and August are on track for success next school year.  We encourage all youngsters to take on this challenge and read at least five books over the summer months to keep their skills sharp.  Parents and other adults can do a lot to keep the momentum up.  We are excited to engage children in this important initiative and look forward to working with the Corporation for National Service and the rest of the Administration on Let’s Read. Let’s Move.”

Transportation Secretary LaHood Joins Secretary Duncan for Let's Read. Let's Move.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 and public officials to read books to children, promote healthy lifestyles and participate in games and fitness activities with children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.  The books, refreshments, games and equipment for fitness activities have been donated by Target, which is one of the organizations answering President Obama’s call to service.

ED Staff

More Photos

Secretary Arne Duncan Kicks Off Let’s Read. Let’s Move.

Secretary Arne Duncan Kicks Off Let’s Read. Let’s Move.On Tuesday, June 29, Secretary Arne Duncan and his wife, Karen Duncan, kicked off the Department of Education’s summer enrichment series, “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” on the outdoor plaza of the Lyndon Baines Johnson headquarters building with book readings, writing and arts activities, healthy snacks, and games. Children in pre-kindergarten through third grade from various local schools and the Prince George’s County Judy Center and Head Start programs received free, new books and a lunch tote to take home and enjoy as part of the session.

The Department launched “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” to combat summer learning loss and physical inactivity that commonly occur during the school break. Secretary Duncan noted, “We know that for far too many children, reading achievement stalls when schoolwork stops during the summer. In fact, most low-income children can lose more than two months of reading skills progress during the summer.” Additionally, research shows that the problem of obesity threatens the healthy future of one-third of all American children. According to some studies, children can gain weight three times faster during the summer months, which is often equal to the amount of weight they would typically gain over the course of an entire school year.

Through activities designed to promote reading and academic achievement, healthy lifestyles and physical fitness, as well as general enrichment, “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” aims to increase awareness about the critical importance of summer learning and highlight the tenets of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” national campaign to combat childhood obesity.

During six sessions held weekly at the Department of Education between June 29 and August 3, Secretary Duncan, Cabinet members, Administration officials, and other public figures will be invited to read books, promote healthy lifestyles, and participate in games and fitness activities with children. The series is a direct response to President Barack Obama’s national volunteer campaign, “United We Serve,” which challenges all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful service activities in their communities this summer. The Department is working together with the Corporation for National and Community Service on this initiative. 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.
Look for the next session on Wednesday, July 7 at noon.

Tiffany Taber
Office of Communications and Outreach

More Photos