U.S. Department of Education’s Let's Read! Let's Move! Summer Series Goes to Space: Students’ Futures Take Flight as They Learn and Train like Astronauts with Celebrity Guests at the National Air and Space Museum

  • twitter
  • Facebook
  • google+

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for another 2014 Let's Read! Let's Move! field trip in his neighborhood, which is part of a broader initiative to engage youth in summer learning and physical activity. Duncan will join the museum’s Chief Curator Peter L. Jakab, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and Chef Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” in reading to the students and encouraging them to stay active and healthy.

Before the festivities start at 11:30 a.m., students will go to the museum’s planetarium for a screening of “One World, One Sky,” a children’s introduction to astronomy as Sesame Street characters take an imaginary trip to the moon. Davuluri will join Education Department and Museum staff for a pre-show with “Astronaut” musician Alden Phelps. Immediately following, Davuluri will assist children in making space helmets, and children will “go to space” with David Messick and the Rainbow Productions puppets. Jeffery Tribble Jr. and The MusicianShip, a nonprofit organization that gives free music instruction to at-risk youth, will perform as the celebrity guests arrive.

Secretary Duncan will be welcomed by Dr. Jakab and guests will read “Astronaut Handbook” by Meghan McCarthy to the students and answer their questions in the Space Race gallery. Following the reading, on the west end terrace, Chef Hall and museum staff will lead children in a demonstration about foods used in space, while representatives from the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington lead students to the Moving Beyond Earth gallery, where they can exercise like an astronaut. 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.

“Summer learning, especially hands-on experience, both inside and outside the classroom, is an important part of building the foundation needed for success later in school, college and career,” said Secretary Duncan. “To help all children start school on a level playing field, the administration is continuing to work to expand access to high-quality early learning programs and to ensure equal educational opportunity for all students. Let’s Read! Let’s Move! highlights the importance of preparing students in every way possible to be successful in school, by teaching them how a healthy, active lifestyle can positively affect their ability to learn.”

The summer enrichment series is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s United We Serve: Let's Read! Let's Move! initiative. The goal of these events is to keep children reading, moving and active over the summer months, as well as to highlight the importance of access to high-quality early learning programs in providing all children a strong start on the path to readiness for school. 

The Department holds Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington PHD (Physical, Healthy, Driven) program. Target Corp. will provide healthy snacks, and every child will be able to select a free new book to take home, courtesy of Target and its partnership with First Book. AmeriCorps members will also support the event.