U.S. Department of Education’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Summer Series Dances into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, July 22, for a Let's Read! Let's Move! event that celebrates this week’s 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 40th VSA (formerly Very Special Arts) anniversary, while engaging youth in summer learning through reading and physical activity. 

Duncan will join U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy; White House Let’s Move! Executive Director Debra Eschmeyer; Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Vice President of Education Mario Rossero and Lawrence Carter-Long, pioneering performer in Heidi Latsky’s critically-acclaimed GIMP dance troupe as they read the book Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae to more than 175 children attending the event.

After the reading, Murthy will dance with the children and teach them how to stay physically active through dance. Immediately following, Septime Webre, artistic director of The Washington Ballet will teach the students how to create a ballet. Kennedy Center Education Department Teaching Artists also will guide children in additional movement activities. These Let’s Move! activities are inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to combat childhood obesity by emphasizing healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

“Children—especially young children—need experiences that help them continue learning throughout the summer to build a strong foundation for success in school and in life,” said Duncan. “Let's Read! Let's Move! provides fun, hands-on activities that highlight the importance of preparing students in every way possible—academically and physically—to achieve in school, by teaching them how a healthy, active lifestyle can positively affect their ability to learn.”

Let’s Read! Let’s Move! aims to increase awareness about the critical importance of summer learning, nutrition and physical activity. The Department of Education launched Let’s Read! Let’s Move! in 2010, following an Administration-wide effort by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency which administers AmeriCorps and other service programs. These events bring together hundreds of early learning students—pre-kindergarten through third-grade—across a diverse demographic stretching from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and beyond. Let’s Read! Let’s Move! also encourages youth participation and community service through the support of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington PHD (Physical, Healthy & Driven) program. Target Corporation will provide healthy snacks, and every child can select a free book to take home, courtesy of Target and its partnership with First Book.