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PRESS RELEASE

October 27, 2005

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner and Just Read, Florida! Promote Reading Contest at Disney-MGM Studios Attraction Unveiling
Actors and local elementary school students join state officials for a glimpse into "Journey Into Narnia: Creating The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"

ORLANDO –Florida Education Commissioner John L. Winn and Just Read, Florida! today joined four stars of the upcoming movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for a preview of Disney-MGM Studios' developing attraction, Journey Into Narnia: Creating The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, based on the movie.

Commissioner Winn and the four young actors – William Moseley, 18 (Peter), Anna Popplewell, 16 (Susan), Skandar Keynes, 14 (Edmund) and Georgie Henley, 10 (Lucy) – read a portion of the book to a group of children from Highlands Elementary School in Osceola County. The students listened as the actors shared first-hand stories of their experiences during the making of the movie and were then given the opportunity to participate in a question and answer time with the cast.

"Florida continues to see improvements in reading achievement levels as students, parents and teachers intensify their focus on this fundamental area of learning," said Commissioner Winn. "Today's event allows the children here to experience first-hand the places that reading can take them and sparks greater interest in other timeless tales."

The event also celebrates Just Read, Florida!'s statewide reading in the arts contest focused on the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. As a part of their Just Read, Florida! statewide reading initiative, Florida Governor and First Lady Jeb and Columba Bush recently announced "Florida's Journey into the Land of Narnia," a reading in the arts contest open to all students in grades 3 through 12 in public, private and home schools. One winner will be chosen from each of the contest's three categories: elementary school, middle school and high school.

Prize packages awarded to the three winners will include private screening of the movie at the Disney-MGM Studios, a weekend stay at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resort, dinner at Orlando's Medieval Times, movie memorabilia, passes to Disney-MGM Studios and Apple iPods®. Other prizes include gift certificates to:

  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Books-A-Million
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Borders Bookstore
  • Simon Mall

Teachers of winning students and their classrooms will also receive prize packages including cash prizes from PEOExperts. Contest entries must be postmarked to designated entry submission locations no later than 5:00 PM EST on Friday, November 25, 2005.

Just Read, Florida! is the Governor's statewide reading initiative to achieve the goal of every child reading at or above grade level by the year 2012. The initiative is designed to guide changes at every level of education that have an impact on reading outcomes in Florida schools. Through the Governor's leadership and strong support from the Legislature, funding for reading has increased from no dedicated reading dollars in 2001 to $143 million in 2005. In fiscal year 2005-06, this initiative received $89 million for a K-12 comprehensive, district-wide system of research-based reading instruction with $50,000 minimum for each school district.

For additional information on the statewide reading in the arts contest or to learn more about Just Read, Florida!, visit www.justreadflorida.com.