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As a former teacher and librarian, Mrs. Bush knows that reading is the foundation for all learning. One of her favorite projects is to help recruit good teachers and inform parents and caregivers about the best ways to prepare children to learn to read. As a child, Mrs. Bush loved listening to her mother read. Little did she know that her mother was doing much more than providing comfort and entertainment; she was paving the way for learning and success in school.

Research shows that the early language experiences and education that caring adults provide for children shape the way they think and learn. The quality of these experiences affects a child's enthusiasm for learning, ability to interact with others and success in school.

Though many children grow up hearing a broad vocabulary and being read to from infancy, others enter school without knowing the names of letters or how to count. For these children, reading and learning can be a struggle. If they are unable to overcome this obstacle, their loss affects all of society.

Mrs. Bush encourages all parents, caregivers, and teachers to help make sure that every child starts school with the skills needed to learn. Once in the classroom, children should have excellent and effective teachers and a high-quality education.

No Child Left Behind

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is based on the belief that every child can learn, and every school must teach. NCLB’s core principles include making sure every child is at or above grade level in reading and math by 2014; promoting annual measurement and disaggregation of data so parents and educators know how all students are doing; and providing meaningful information and options for parents and support for schools to improve so students can achieve. The President’s FY09 budget increases total funding for NCLB by $1 billion, to $24.5 billion.

Mrs. Bush believes all Americans have a duty to help children achieve success. She joins President Bush in his goal to make America's schools the best they can be by setting high expectations, providing needed resources and support for teachers and principals, and keeping a focus on every child achieving and succeeding in higher education and the workplace.

Teacher Recruitment
As a former public school teacher, Mrs. Bush knows that one of the most profound responsibilities we as a nation are entrusted with is the education of our children. She also believes it is important for us to love our children, teach them to love knowledge and disdain ignorance, and support the men and women who devote their careers to educating our children.

Laura Bush has focused her attention on several alternative teacher recruitment programs including Troops to Teachers, the New Teacher Project, and Teach For America. Troops to Teachers has placed more than 11,000 former military personnel in teaching positions, the New Teacher Project has implemented 70 programs in 28 states and prepared more than 33,000 new teachers, and Teach For America’s 14,000 corps members have taught more than 3 million children.

Reading Achievement
As part of helping students achieve and succeed, Mrs. Bush recognizes the importance of the Reading First Reading First, Striving Readers, and the Improving Literacy Through School LibrariesImproving Literacy Through School Libraries grant programs.

Mrs. Bush believes all Americans have a duty to help children achieve success. She joins President Bush in his goal to make America's schools the best they can be.

The Reading First program builds on a solid foundation of scientifically based research and provides struggling students in the Nation's highest need schools with resources to make significant progress in reading achievement. Although many children become proficient in reading during their elementary school years, some middle and high school students still struggle with reading. The Striving Readers program aims at improving the reading skills of struggling middle school- and high school-aged students and at building a strong, scientific research base around specific strategies that improve adolescent literacy skills.

As a former librarian, Mrs. Bush understands the importance of libraries. In the highly competitive Information Age, school libraries can provide access to the resources and services students need to succeed. This is particularly important when serving children who have limited access at home to computers and the Internet. No Child Left Behind's Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (LSL) grant program provides funds to help schools improve their library media and address the reading challenges of their students.

Global Literacy
From Afghanistan to Zambia, Mrs. Bush highlights and supports efforts to ensure women and girls receive the education and skills that will enable them to assume leadership roles in the political and economic life of their countries. Women who can read are also more likely to be advocates for their children's education, and research shows that educated women raise better-nourished, healthier families.

Serving as Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade through 2012, Mrs. Bush is an international spokesperson for the education of people in every nation, especially women and girls. She supports education programs to foster economic development, advance opportunity, and promote human rights worldwide. To emphasize the need for a sustained international commitment to promoting literacy, Mrs. Bush hosted conferences in 2006, 2007, and 2008 that were attended by first ladies, education ministers, literacy experts, and private donor organizations from around the world. As Honorary Chair for the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, Mrs. Bush supports efforts that help provide Afghan women and girls with educational opportunities and skills previously forbidden under the Taliban. During trips to Africa, Mrs. Bush highlighted the efforts of the President’s Africa Education Initiative, which increased education opportunities for more than 34 million children.

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October 7, 2008
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a UNESCO Luncheon on the Occasion of the United Nations Literacy Decade Mid-Decade Review Report
September 22, 2008
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the White House Symposium on Advancing Global Literacy: Building a Foundation for Freedom

Closing Remarks by Mrs. Bush at the White House Symposium on Advancing Global Literacy: Building a Foundation for Freedom
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Photo Essays
Mrs. Laura Bush speaks during a conference on school safety at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006. White House photo by Shealah Craighead Photo Essay

Latest News
Mrs. Bush's Global Literacy Fact Sheet
No Child Left Behind
Ready to Read, Ready to Learn
Reach Out and Read
Healthy Start, Grow Smart
Reading First
Improving Literacy Through School Libraries
White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers
Teach for America
Troops to Teachers
Mrs. Bush's Education Fact Sheet
The New Teacher Project
Transition to Teaching
Careers in Teaching
Mrs. Bush’s Character and Community Initiative
Resources for Families