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Press Release

Monday, May 9, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

First Lady of Florida Kicks Off Summer Literacy Adventure

~ Students across the state encouraged to take pledge to read during summer break ~

Tallahassee – Florida First Lady Ann Scott, along with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of State, today hosted students from Fairview Middle School to kick off the Summer Literacy Adventure at the Governor’s Mansion. The program was created as a way to encourage students to pledge to read and visit their local public libraries this summer. As part of the kick-off event, students had the opportunity to tour the Governor’s Mansion and listened to the First Lady share a story. Students also received summer “book-packs” from Scholastic and previewed the “Find a Book, Florida” search tool from MetaMetrics®.

“Reading is a great way to have fun this summer. I encourage all children in Florida to take the pledge to read, visit your local library, and join me on this adventure,” said First Lady Ann Scott. “Pick up a book or two and read together this summer. Great readers become great learners, and learning can prepare you for lifelong success.”

Studies have consistently shown that students who read throughout the year are able to retain their knowledge and continue to learn. To participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure, students can visit the Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.com to take the pledge. A select school with the most participating students in the Summer Literacy Adventure will be recognized during the 2011-12 school year.

“Strong reading skills are an essential part of the learning process and we must do all that we can to encourage our children to make reading a part of their daily lives,” said Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I’m thrilled to help introduce the Summer Literacy Adventure and hope all of our families have a chance to participate in this wonderful journey.”

The Department of State also encourages students to read, and local public libraries throughout the state host a variety of programs during the summer to promote reading. For more than 40 years, the Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services has coordinated the Florida Library Youth Program, which promotes the retention and growth of students’ reading skills during the summer break. Last summer, the Florida Library Youth Program reached more than 950,000 people. Participants of all ages enjoyed fun activities, special guest performances, presentations, crafts and more at Florida’s public libraries. Students and their families can learn more about summer reading programs by contacting their local public library. Information on the locations of public libraries in Florida can be found at www.fllibraries.org.

“Reading is one of the most valuable activities we can encourage our children to do,” said Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning. “This summer, I hope Florida’s students will take advantage of the 560 public libraries throughout the state where they can find their favorite books and many other educational and entertaining resources.”

Students who take the pledge may also utilize a free online tool to search for books based on their reading ability and interests. The DOE, through MetaMetrics, offers a unique resource called “Find a Book, Florida” at http://florida.lexile.com that uses Lexile® measures, a widely adopted reading metric that can guide a reader to an appropriate level book. Each year, more than 30 million Lexile measures are reported from reading assessments and programs—representing over half of U.S. students.

The DOE’s Just Read, Florida! Office offers a Recommended Summer Reading List and other valuable reading and literacy resources for students and families. To learn about these resources, visit www.justreadflorida.com.

About the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services
The Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services is the designated information resource provider for the Florida Legislature and all state agencies. It also coordinates and helps fund the activities of public libraries, provides a framework for statewide library initiatives, provides archival and records management services, and preserves, collects, and makes available the published and unpublished documentary history of the state. Working in partnership with citizens, state employees, librarians, archivists and records managers, the division seeks to assure access to materials and information that enables local libraries and agencies to provide effective information services to benefit of the people of Florida. The Division of Library and Information Services also coordinates the activities of the State Library Council, which was created by Section 257.02, Florida Statutes, in 1970.