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Press Release

Monday, January 13, 2014

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

First Lady Ann Scott Kicks Off Literacy Tour and 6th Annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!

~ Students learn how "Reading Accelerates Success" by connecting the value of literacy with STEM careers ~

Tallahassee, Fla., January 13, 2014 -First Lady Ann Scott today joined students at American Senior High School in Miami-Dade to kick off her statewide literacy tour in observance of Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! The initiative brings together education leaders and volunteers to promote the importance of literacy. This year's theme "Reading Accelerates Success" connects the value of literacy with careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"I believe literacy is the foundation for success in school and in the workplace," said Florida First Lady Ann Scott. "I read with my daughters while they were growing up and now with my grandsons to get them excited about reading. I encourage parents and children to set aside time every week to read together and instill a love of reading and learning."

The First Lady will visit eight schools this week as part of her literacy tour.
  • American Senior High School in Miami-Dade School District
  • Conniston Middle School in the School District of Palm Beach County
  • Everglades Elementary in Okeechobee County School District
  • DeSoto Middle School in DeSoto County School District
  • Tarpon Springs Elementary School in Pinellas County School District
  • Fernandina Beach Middle School in Nassau County School District
  • Lake Butler Elementary School in Union County School District
  • North Hamilton Elementary in Hamilton County School District

"Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! provides many opportunities to engage schools, students, teachers and families in reading," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "Our students are best served when the greater community is involved in education. I thank our educators and the partners of Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! for their efforts in promoting the critical skill of reading both inside and outside our classrooms."

During the week, thousands of volunteers organized by Florida Blue, partnering state agencies and local communities will 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.

Florida students are challenged to participate in the annual 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 2014 is 33 million minutes, up from the 2013 goal of 30 million minutes. The results will be tallied and submitted by the district reading contact to the Department of Education's Just Read, Florida! Office.

Additionally, this year the Just Read, Florida! Office has teamed up with the Florida Lottery and other education partners to bring portable planetariums to elementary and middle schools across the state so students can sit under the stars and learn how reading relates to science and space technology. This unique experience enables students to further understand the importance of literacy and its connection to STEM-related careers.

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! is a weeklong celebration from Jan. 13 - 17, 2014, 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 complete information on this year's report, visit 2014 Quality Counts.