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Press Release

Monday, January 23, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

First Lady Ann Scott Kicks Off Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!

- Students challenged to participate in the Million Minute Marathon -

Tallahassee - First Lady Ann Scott today joined Florida Department of Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell, Florida Department of Education Office of Early Learning Executive Director Stuart Greenburg, and Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White, to kick off Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!, at Sarasota Middle School. Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! brings together education leaders and volunteers to promote the importance of literacy. As part of the week, thousands of volunteers will read to children in classrooms throughout the state. The initiative supports partnerships between state and local agencies, community organizations and schools while encouraging students to read each day.

"I am passionate about supporting literacy in Florida's communities and am honored to be a part of Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!," said Florida First Lady Ann Scott. "Books can have a profound and lasting impact on the reader and I encourage Florida families to take every opportunity to make reading a part of their daily lives."

"I want to thank Florida's teachers and students for continuing to make reading a priority in their classrooms each day," said Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. "Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! spotlights our state's important work in the area of reading. Generous contributions from our partners make these worthwhile activities possible. Thank you to our partners for supporting this rewarding activity, and may we continue to share our love of reading year round."

This year, Florida students were challenged to participate in the Million Minute Marathon. The marathon is a special program that encourages students from across the state to read for an additional 20 minutes during the school day in celebration of literacy. The Million Minute Marathon began in 2011 with students in the Sunshine State logging 17 million minutes of reading, surpassing the goal of 10 million minutes. The goal for 2012 is 20 million minutes, which will be tallied and submitted by the district reading contact to the Department of Education's Just Read, Florida! office. Schools, teachers, and volunteers may choose to read the official book of the 2012 marathon, How Much is a Million by David Schwartz, or make a selection of their own.

Additionally, through a new partnership with Daytona International Speedway and the Florida Department of Lottery, the Just Read, Florida! office will "rev up" the challenge to read by visiting schools across the state with the Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Race Car. The race car made a special appearance at the kickoff event where students had a chance to tour the vehicle and take photos with Scholastic's Clifford the Big Red Dog. The Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Race Car will continue to tour the state through the first week of March 2012. Local school districts and community partners are also encouraged to create fun and exciting literacy events that reinforce the importance of reading.

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! is a weeklong celebration from Jan. 23 - 27, 2012, geared toward raising awareness for literacy programs and projects offered by the DOE's Just Read, Florida! office and its partner agencies and organizations. The Department of Education actively works with community groups and volunteers throughout the state to make reading a priority in students' lives. For more information about the Just Read, Florida! office, visit www.justreadflorida.com.

For more information about Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! events, visit www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp.