Kicking Off the 2011 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Series

From left to right, Arne, Attorney General Holder and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” read U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week to over 100 students from DC area schools and Early Head Start programs at ED’s first installment of this year’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series held at ED headquarters. Holder joined Secretary Duncan, NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan in kicking off the 2011 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series that seeks to increase awareness of the importance of summer learning and encourage adults to read to children.

Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan. Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams

Holder offered a spirited rendition of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, while Abdul-Jabbar read Mina Javaherbin’s Goal, a book about a group of South African children who overcome bullying to follow their love of playing soccer. Following the reading, students discussed the importance of reading, eating healthy, and staying fit and participated in a series of fitness stations as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! initiative.

After the activities, the students snacked on fruit and granola bars and received an autographed children’s book from Scanlan. Each school that participated in the event received a book for its school library signed by all the celebrities at the event. Students from Joint Base Anacostia Bolling Youth Center, Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc., Children’s Choice Learning Center, and the Parents Coalition of Montgomery County attended the event.

ED’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series brings together Cabinet members, administration officials and other public figures to read children’s books and promote healthy lifestyles. ED’s partners for this year’s series include the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington Physical, Healthy, Drive (PHD) program that will contribute staff and resources to conduct games, Target will provide books and healthy snacks, and Nickelodeon will provide cookbooks and pedometers.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

See more photos.

Additional Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events are scheduled for July 12, 20, and 26.

Noah Bokat-Lindell and Eugene Smith are interns at the Department of Education.


  1. Having Eric Holder read books to children is a scary sight. I could just imagine myself a child seeing three menin suits uncomfortably read me a book. And I am then a happy child?

    • What a powerful way to raise the consciousness of these young children, and what a strange assumption that some of these children do not have parents who wear business suits and who might take the time to read to them while they are going to or coming from business meetings where suits are the appropriate attire. I think it was a wonderful idea to have these children come together to listen and to play in the halls of government and to have the beauty queen sitting in the audience with them as she too celebrated the event. I was more curious as to why Miss America was not also reading a book. That was a missed opportunity to showcase the fact that people from all walks of life read, love books, and learn from text. I believe that last year, it was the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her two daughters who launched the event at the white house. Each year needs a different kick off, and showing the children that men read is extremely important.

  2. Reading is a great exercise for the mind! I remember, when my first daughter was 3 years and I was expecting my second child, I would read to both of them. My oldest is almost 21 and enjoys reading, she is on her way to becoming a Great Phsychologist. I’m 43 years old and returned to school 2 years ago. Is never too late to continue learning. Reading is fun!

  3. I am excited! I intergrate books into my physical education classroom and the children love it! I am so excited about being a part of moving by the book and applaud the efforts and hard work that First Lady Obama is placing on our children’s minds. I am ready! Let’s Move!!!!

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