The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 4, 2003

Mrs. Bush's Remarks to Savannah Grove Elementary in South Carolina
Savannah Grove Elementary
Effingham, South Carolina

Thank you, Alasha for the great introduction. Principal Brown said you were a good reader and I can see that he's right. Thank you, Principal Brown, Ms. Gross, and students of Savannah Grove for welcoming me to your school.

I know you've been in school for a few weeks, so I thought you would surely be ready for a pop quiz. There's just one question - what is the one thing you can do every day to do really well in school? Any ideas? The correct answer is to read. The surest way to succeed in school and in life is to become a good reader. You have to read as much and as many books as you can. Reading helps you learn new words and the more you read, the faster you'll move on to the next reading level.

Of course, as with any other skill, like basketball or baseball, the secret to enjoying reading is to practice. How many of you like to play basketball? What would you do if you wanted to play well like Michael Jordan? You might eat a lot of the right foods to help you grow strong. And you would practice your three-pointers and foul shots. You would work really hard to become a better player. You have to do the same thing with reading. You have to read every day to become a better reader.

Like basketball, reading isn't easy - it's hard work. But everyone can learn to read and each of you can practice. Some of the best places to practice reading are here in your school library or in the public library - and especially at home. When you get home from school, turn off the TV and video games and read books that interest you. If you read as much as you can after school, you'll be even more prepared in the classroom.

Besides practice, to become a good reader, you also have to listen to your coaches - just like in basketball. And the best reading coaches are your teachers and parents. Thanks to the teachers here today for answering the call to teach. Teaching is the greatest public service and we owe every teacher our admiration, appreciation and respect.

Just like your teachers, your parents are great coaches as well. Practice reading your favorite books and stories with your parents. Wow them with new and big words. Share your stories with your little brothers and sisters. Reading to them is another good way to practice and a great way to set an example for younger children.

Whether you know it or not, someone somewhere looks up to you. It may be your brothers and sisters or younger children in your neighborhood or in school. By reading as much as you can and staying in school, you will show them that reading and education are important to succeed in life. Best of luck in this new school year and remember to study hard and read as much as you can - and you'll be ready for my next pop quiz.

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