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Press Release

Monday, January 12, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Celebrates Literacy

~ Kick off event highlights the importance of literacy in all careers ~

TALLAHASSEE – Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp and Commissioner of Education Eric J. Smith kicked off Florida’s first-ever Celebrate Literacy Week today. The event focused on the importance of literacy and its impact not only in education, but also in all aspects of life. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Assistant Commissioner Ken Tucker was also on hand to highlight the participation of law enforcement agencies statewide in Celebrate Literacy activities.

“Florida’s first week-long celebration is a wonderful way to kick off the New Year and remind citizens about the importance of literacy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kottkamp. “Reading is not only a vital component for economic and social development, but also an enjoyable activity at any age.”

Through a partnership with law enforcement agencies throughout the state more than 50 schools in more than 15 school districts will receive special visits from law enforcement officers this week, where officers will read the book Police Officers by Paulette Bourgeois to students in kindergarten through second grade. Officers will discuss with students the significance of reading and how they apply reading skills every day in what they do to protect Florida’s communities. Officers are expected to reach approximately 5,000 students through visits to 300 classes around the state.

“Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!” is aimed at promoting literacy throughout the state by raising awareness of the programs and projects offered by Florida’s Department of Education and its partner organizations. Activities throughout the week will promote the enjoyment of reading for children and adults of all ages. Other local events this week include the announcement of the statewide Literacy Public Service Announcement Contest winners and the next installment of the Department of Education’s “What’s Working” series, focused on reading. For more information about locations or times of these events, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2009/2009_01_09.asp.

“Literacy is the cornerstone of any successful education system,” said Education Commissioner Smith. “Florida’s recent top 10 national ranking is a direct result of educational reforms that emphasize the importance of reading and writing, and events throughout this week will continue to promote literacy initiatives to ensure our state’s successful future.”

For more information about Florida’s first ever Literacy week and a list of statewide events, visit http://www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp.