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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 20, 2002

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Reach Out and Read Event in Boston
Boston, Massachusetts

Thank you, Dr. Zuckerman, and thanks very much for this kind recognition. By supporting Reach Out and Read, I am really just doing what I love most: helping people experience the joy and the benefits of reading with children.

An American scholar (Mortimer Adler) said, "Reading is a basic tool in the living of good life."

Every child in America should have a chance to succeed in school, and in life. And success begins with reading. All children should start school with the advantage that comes from fun, early language and reading activities with parents and caring adults.

Simply put: Children who start school ready to read start school ready to learn. Children who are read to learn two things: First, that reading is important, and second, that they are important.

If we talk to and listen to children; read with them, and surround them with books, -- then we can help them establish the skills, knowledge, and confidence that will help prepare them for life.

Moms, dads, grandparents - all those who care for a young child at some point during the day -- need to know how important it is to read to their babies and children.

Reach Out and Read delivers that message. Doctors are especially qualified to help parents understand how important it is to read to their babies.

Reach Out and Read is a success because parents trust and respect their pediatricians. It is a success because doctors have a chance to identify reading problems early, when they are easier to remedy. Reach Out and Read is also a success because of all of you.

Thank you for supporting Reach Out and Read and the unique form of preventive medicine it offers. I believe in this program, and I'm glad that you do, too.

Thank you.

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