U.S. Department of Education to Kick Off Let's Read! Let's Move! Summer Series with Celebrity Guests

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Personal Chef to the First Family Samuel Kass, and Cornell McClellan, fitness consultant and personal trainer to the First Family, will launch this year's Let's Read! Let's Move! summer enrichment series at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters building on Wednesday, July 11, at 12:00 p.m. ET. The goal of the series is to keep children moving, active, and reading over the summer months.

"Far too many children lose reading skills over the summer when schools aren't in session," Duncan said. "The way to reverse this trend is to keep students reading throughout the summer by encouraging them to find books that ignite their interests and imagination, which will fuel their passion to read even more. And parents can show their love of reading by reading to their kids on a regular basis."

The series is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service's summer United We Serve: Let's Read! Let's Move! initiative, which engages youth in summer reading and physical activity, as well as provides information about healthy, affordable food.

Preschool and elementary age youngsters from a number of schools and centers in the area (listed below) will attend the July 11 event, as well as the kids of Department employees. Duncan, Kass, and McClellan will read to the children and give them an opportunity to ask questions. Students will then engage in the "Let's Move" part of the event—a series of fun physical activities, such as the Shopping Cart Nutrition Race and Jumbo Jam Basketball—inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to combat childhood obesity by emphasizing healthy eating and an active lifestyle.Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will be on hand to help coordinate these activities. IMLS is supporting summer learning programs in every state. More than 560 museums and gardens are participating in Let's Move! Museums and Gardens, and libraries in nearly all communities across the country are engaged in summer reading programs.

The Department's Let's Read! Let's Move! series is being carried out in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington PHD (Physical, Healthy, Driven) program. Target Corporation 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. A vegetable and fruit tasting station will be featured, courtesy of Giant Food, a partner of the YMCA. And the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone also will be exhibiting, educating children on food safety and basic nutrition.

Various Cabinet members, administration officials, and other public figures will participate in the upcoming Let's Read! Let's Move! events, scheduled for July 18, 25, 30, and featuring pre-kindergarten through third grade students from other local schools and summer programs.