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Press Release

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

DEP Press Office
(850) 245-2112

Summer Literacy Adventure Journeys to the Caverns

~ Florida Caverns State Park provides an exciting venue to encourage children to read during the break ~

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's First Lady Ann Scott today took the Summer Literacy Adventure away from the hot summer sun and into the beautiful, serene caverns of Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna to encourage children to explore nature's gift and read over the summer. Mrs. Scott was joined by representatives of the Florida Department of Education (DOE), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Department of State (DOS) in advancing the literacy skills of students in the surrounding Jackson County region during the summer break.

"Reading is essential to a child's development and the Summer Literacy Adventure is a great way to engage a child's mind," said First Lady Ann Scott. "Writing, creativity, vocabulary, rhythm and repetition are all skills you develop from reading, and having a mysterious backdrop like the Marianna Caverns offers an exciting venue that can further develop a child's imagination and amplify reading and literacy skills for their future academic success."

Students can visit the Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.com to participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure. A select school with the most participating students taking the pledge in the Adventure will be recognized during the 2011-12 school year, with all of its students winning a one-day pass to any Florida State Park.

"Florida Caverns State Park is a great place to visit and bring your reading adventure to life," said Florida State Parks Director Donald V. Forgione. "The Summer Literacy Adventure is a great reason to visit Florida's state parks where kids of all ages can learn about Florida amongst its most pristine natural and cultural resources."

Any student who takes the pledge may also utilize a free online tool to search for books based on 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 DOS also encourages students to read, and local public libraries throughout the state host a variety of programs during the summer to promote reading. The Jackson County Public Library staff was also on hand to share information on DOS's Florida Library Youth Program, which enables participants of all ages to enjoy fun activities, special guest performances, presentations, crafts and more at various public libraries. Information on the locations of public libraries in Florida can be found at www.fllibraries.org.

For more information on Florida's State Parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org, www.twitter.com/FLStateParks and www.facebook.com/FLStateParks. To participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure, visit www.justreadflorida.com.