The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 20, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Reginald Chavez Elementary School in Albuquerque
Reginald Chavez Elementary School
Albuquerque, New Mexico


10:24 A.M. MDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, and thank you, Madison, for that really great introduction. Principal Saavedra told me that you were a wonderful reader and I can see that you are.

Thank you, Principal Saavedra, for letting me be here with all of you today. And Superintendent Everitt, thank you so much for being here today. And thanks to all of you for welcoming me to your school.

I'm so happy to be here. Your school is a Blue Ribbon School, which means that your school is one of the best schools in the whole United States. Congratulations. (Applause.)

I'm proud of you for working hard and for doing so well in reading and math and language, and I know that you're really fortunate to have a great principal and good teachers and librarians who are making sure you received an excellent education.

And since this is almost the last day of school, I want to remind all of you boys and girls, before you leave, be sure and thank your teacher, because you will be saying goodbye to her for the whole summer. And so thank her for everything she did in this year to make sure you learned as much as you could possibly learn.

Tomorrow is the last full day of school. And I thought you'd like one more pop quiz before summer vacation. (Laughter.) There is only one question on this test: What do Principal Saavedra and I have in common? Are there any ideas?

STUDENTS: Reading books?

MRS. BUSH: That's it. (Laughter.) That's the correct answer. (Applause.)

Principal Saavedra and I both love to read and we love books. And we want you to love to read. We want you to love books and for books to be a really very important part of your life.

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to do was to go to the library with my mother in the summer and we'd check out books and then we'd bring those books home and read them. And I especially liked books, the Little House on the Prairie books about Laura Ingalls Wilder, because she and I have the same name. I brought a Laura Ingalls Wilder book to you for your library.

And in fact, I loved reading so much, I my love of reading into my job. I became a teacher and a librarian. Have you ever thought that something you love to do right now, you could grow up and do as an adult for a job? Well, that's what I got to do.

Reading is something you can enjoy throughout your whole life. And, of course, like any other skill, like dancing, like these kindergarteners who are going to dance for us in a few minutes, or like playing basketball, you have to practice.

How many of you like to play basketball? What would you do if you wanted to really play well? You might eat a lot of the right foods and grow really strong. And you'd practice your three-pointers with your friends and with your dad and whoever else you can get to play with you. You'd work really hard to become a better player.

Well, that's the same thing you have to do with reading. You have to read a little bit every day to become a better reader.

You've been working hard all year, so it's really important that you keep reading this summer, because there's a lot of research that shows that children who take a vacation from learning in the summer, when they start school, they have to catch up again. But if you'll read all summer, when you start school your skills will still be great.

It's easy to go on vacation and just watch TV or play video games. But you can't ever take a vacation from learning.

Last summer, I read all five Harry Potter books. So maybe you can start reading one this summer with your parents. You can find Harry Potter and other great books at your library. Ask your parents to take you to the library and help you get a library card in your own name so you can check out books and take them home to read with your brothers and your sisters and your parents. Go to the library as much as you can this summer.

And here is the other thing I want you to do, which you were exactly right about. I want you to try to read at least 10 books, either by yourself or with your mother and dad. I'm going to read 10 books this summer. Everyone who will promise to read at least 10 books this summer, raise your hand. Great.

Read your books and make a list of them, keep a list of them so when you come back next fall, you can show your teacher and principal the 10 books you read, a list of the name of the 10 books. Principal Saavedra will give you two books to take home so you can get started right away.

And don't forget that you can find many more great books at your library. All you have to do is ask the librarian, and your librarian will help you find books that you'll like and that you can read. And you can even receive a special award next fall when you come back if you've read 10 books.

But your best reward will be doing well in school. If you keep reading over the summer, you'll be even more prepared for school next fall.

Have any of you ever read any books by Dr. Seuss? You know his funny, great books and his great characters? This is one thing Dr. Seuss wrote. He wrote, "The more you read, the more things you'll know. The more things you learn, the more places you'll go."

Dr. Seuss and your parents and teachers and librarians know that the more you read, the more you'll learn and the more opportunity you'll have in life. So keep reading this summer and always.

Thank you so much for letting me visit your school. (Applause.)

END 10:30 A.M. MDT

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