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Press Release

Monday, January 14, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

First Lady Ann Scott Kicks Off
5th Annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!

- Students across the state challenged to "Take the Lead and Read" -

Tallahassee, Fla., January 14, 2013 - Today Florida students committed to participate in a literacy campaign across the state themed "Take the Lead and Read." First Lady Ann Scott joined author Susan Snyder and students at The Villages Intermediate Center to kick off Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!. The initiative brings together education leaders and volunteers to promote the importance of literacy. As part of the week, thousands of volunteers read to children in classrooms throughout the state. Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! supports partnerships between state and local agencies, community organizations, and schools while encouraging students to read each day.

"I truly believe reading and literacy are the driving forces for student success in education," said Florida First Lady Ann Scott. "I want to encourage parents and children this week to find time to get excited about reading together, knowing that spending just a few minutes a day reading any book is time well spent."

"Reading is the gateway skill for success in learning and life," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "Our students are best served when the greater community is engaged in education. I thank the partners of Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! and our educators for their efforts in promoting the critical skill of reading in and outside our classrooms."

This year, Florida students were again 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 goal for 2013 is 30 million minutes, up from the 2012 goal of 20 million minutes. The results 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 2013 marathon, Grandma's Crazy Chickens by Susan Snyder, or make a selection of their own.

Additionally, through a 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 official 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 February 2013. 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. 14 - 18, 2013, geared toward raising awareness for literacy programs and projects offered by the Department of Education'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 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!.