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.

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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

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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.

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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