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Press ReleaseWednesday, June 1, 2011
DOE Press Office
DEP Press Office
First Lady Ann Scott, DOE and DEP Encourage Kids to Read Outdoors this Summer~ Outdoor Summer Reading Promotes Literacy and the Enjoyment of Nature while Encouraging Children to use their Imagination to Travel to Places Near and Far ~
TALLAHASSEE – In conjunction with First Lady Ann Scott’s recent announcement of the Summer Literacy Adventure, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are encouraging students to head outdoors with a book from DOE’s Just Read, Florida! 2011 Recommended Summer Reading List. With many of the books on this year’s list themed around travel, children can use their imagination and the environment at Florida’s state parks, greenways and trails to discover and learn about places near and far.
“Summer is the perfect time to pair education with adventure, and the greatest educational journey children can experience is in a book,” First Lady Ann Scott said. “When I was young, I would sit under a tree and read for hours, and to this day I still love to read a good book outside in the shade. Reading and literacy form a foundation for life-long learning, education, and employment, and I encourage everyone to have some fun and read this summer.”
Coupled with the Summer Reading List, the DOE’s Summer Literacy Adventure encourages students to pledge to read a certain number of books, visit a public library and develop a personalized reading list using the “Find a Book, Florida” search tool. The annual reading list is part of DOE’s Just Read, Florida! mission and features recommended books for ages K-12. Children are encouraged to pair these books with the different places, spaces and environments in the more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s 160 State Parks that create the perfect place for reading. The school with the greatest percentage of students participating in the Summer Literacy Adventure program will win a one-day pass for all students to any Florida State Park.
“Reading is vital for educational growth, improvement and success, and should continue after the school year ends,” said Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “By encouraging our students to read through a fun program such as the Summer Literacy Adventure, we can ensure that we are highlighting the importance of making reading a part of our daily lives.”
One of the suggested summer reads for 2011 is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Yearling. This story takes readers back in time to Rawlings 1930s farm life. For those who want to experience the inspiration for The Yearling, DEP encourages families to visit Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Hawthorne, Fla.
“Reading outdoors in Florida’s award-winning state parks is a wonderful way to cultivate environmental stewardship and learning about Florida,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. “By promoting literature focused on Florida’s diverse natural resources, we hope to harness students’ interests in school and environmental protection.”
Other examples of great books to enjoy in a Florida State Park from the 2011 summer reading list include:
- Grades K-3: Buffy the Burrowing Owl, Betty Gilbert
- Grades 4-5: A Faraway Island, Annika Thor
- Grades 6-8: Hattie, Big Sky, Kirby Larson
- Grades 9-12: Whispers from the Bay, John Tkac
To access the Summer Reading List and participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure, students can visit the Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.com.
Students can also identify books based on their interests through Find a Book at www.lexile.com/findabook. For more information on Florida’s State Parks, visit, www.FloridaStateParks.org, www.twitter.com/FLStateParks and www.facebook.com/FLStateParks.