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MEDIA ADVISORY

November 18, 2005

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Just Read, Florida! Announces Holiday Reading List

BOYNTON BEACH — Just Read, Florida! tomorrow will kick-off this year's Holiday Recommend Reading List with a reading event at Macy's Department Store in the Boynton Beach Mall. Just Read, Florida!, along with the Florida Department of Education, will provide complimentary books to the first 50 children ages four through 10 who attend. The Holiday Recommended Reading List provides teachers, students and parents with a list of age-appropriate, holiday-themed books for reading in the classroom as well as in the home during the winter holidays.

"The magic of the holiday season sparks excitement and wonder in children and reading is a wonderful way to capture and encourage this excitement," said Education Commissioner John L. Winn. "I encourage parents to begin new traditions of spending time reading with their children during this holiday season. Parents and teachers who read with students every day are inspiring in them a love of reading that will further enhance their education."

Reading lists are available on Just Read, Florida!'s website, www.justreadflorida.com, throughout the year helping parents and teachers take an active role in the reading achievements of Florida's students. The lists provide reading recommendations, as well as suggestions for the most effective methods for reading with children of various ages. In addition to the holiday recommendations, specialized reading lists are provided during other times of the year, including lists for Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month and summer reading.

Tomorrow's event will include a read-aloud of holiday stories selected from the list by Debbi Clarke, reading teacher and Florida Department of Education Macy's Teacher of the Year Finalist. The Teacher of the Year program honors the contributions of outstanding teachers who have demonstrated the ability to inspire a love of learning in students. This year marks the 17th year Macy's Florida has sponsored and produced the awards program. To date, the company has contributed $1.7 million to teachers throughout the Sunshine State, making their donation the single largest annual corporate cash contribution to Florida public schools.

Just Read, Florida! is Governor Jeb Bush'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. Since 1998, the percentage of fourth grade students reading on grade level or higher has increased from 51 percent to 71 percent. 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.

For access to The Holiday Recommended Reading List or to learn more about Just Read, Florida!, visit www.justreadflorida.com.