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Hundreds of Children Read Across Washington

National Education Association kicks off summer reading program at local libraries

WASHINGTON - June 30, 2008 -

Economic woes and rising gas prices couldn't stop hundreds of local students from having a fun-filled summer vacation when NEA's Read Across Washington, a daylong celebration of summer reading, kicked off today at local libraries.

Seuss characters were on the loose at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, as well as across Maryland and Virginia.  The first-ever Read Across Washington, sponsored by the National Education Association and D.C. Public Libraries, revved up youngsters across the metropolitan area with 17 branch libraries participating.

"Even in these troubling economic times, the best family vacation is only a page away in your favorite book," said NEA President Reg Weaver.  "Whether it's traveling to faraway lands, finding a buried treasure or discovering another galaxy, children can still have a great vacation when they are in the company of a good book."

In support of NEA's Read Across Washington, public libraries in the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs are also holding reading events to celebrate summer reading in Seuss style, including readings in Chinese and Spanish, showing that summer reading is important in any language.

A 2007 study by Johns Hopkins University researchers revealed that the achievement gaps between high socioeconomic and low socioeconomic students in ninth grade traces back to the loss in reading proficiency that occurs over the summer months throughout the elementary grades. Researchers noted summer learning loss across five years of elementary school accounted for more than half the difference in the achievement gap.

The read-ins will be in full swing as thousands of educators arrive in the nation's capital for the 3.2 million-member organization's Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly.  The annual convention, scheduled on July 1-6 at the Washington Convention Center, is expected to attract nearly 10,000 educators from around the country and pour an estimated $35 million into the local economy.

Every year, an estimated 45 million young and old participate in NEA's Read Across America- the nation's largest reading celebration-now in its 11th year. Past celebrity participants include Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Garth Brooks, First Lady Laura Bush, football Giant Tiki Barber and tennis superstar Serena Williams.

More information on NEA's Read Across America and details on local events happening in the nation's capital can be found online at .


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Staci Maiers  (202) 822-7823