4. No Such Thing as a Vacation From Reading by Dr. Roderick R. Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education

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No Such Thing as a Vacation From Reading by Dr. Roderick R. Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education. Dr. Roderick R. Paige, Secretary of Education spoke at the Summer reading Campaign in Wheaton, Maryland on June 27. 2001. In this speech he emphasized reading as the foundation of all learning.

I want to thank several people for joining us today. Lynne Cheney, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. Jerry Weast, the Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, and Maurice Travillian, the Assistant State Superintendent for Library Services.

I also want to recognize Susan Neuman, who is here with me. Susan is an expert on early childhood education, and I am delighted that the President has nominated Susan to be Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education. I also want to mention another of his outstanding nominees for our Department, Russ Whitehurst, an expert on reading instruction who could not be with us today. If confirmed, Russ will head up education research, and Susan will use his findings in Department programs.

As all of you know, President Bush believes that reading is the foundation of all learning. The President’s budget calls for an investment of $5 billion in reading over the next 5 years, and his ‘Reading First’ program will ensure that every child can read by the third grade. ‘Reading First’ is part of the President’s No Child Left Behind plan and the related bills that were quickly passed earlier this month by the Senate and in May by the House. The hard work of Republicans and Democrats on this bill so far has been impressive, but it is not over. I hope that the conference committee can produce a final bill quickly – and with clear and focused goals for every dollar of spending – so schools can prepare for Reading First and for the reforms that lie ahead. The school year won’t wait for Washington, so we need to make sure that the conference begins so regulations and rules can follow. For this Congress, it is a defining moment. This bill, if we succeed, will help determine the future of millions of American children for decades to come. Research shows that children, especially disadvantaged children who are not exposed to reading at home, learn new skills during the school year and then forget them over the summer months.

One study says children can lose up to 25 percent of their reading and math skills during the summer. We are here today because, if we can get children to use these skills regularly, they won’t lose them. To address this problem, families should read with their children during the summer months – everyday. For this reason, I am delighted to announce the launch of a new campaign, “No Such Thing as a Vacation from Reading.”

This campaign is part of the Department of Education’s Partnership for Family Involvement in Education – one that involves businesses, community organizations, faith-based organizations, foundations, schools, and other groups to support the strong relationship between children and adults that are critical to learning.

The brochure and poster encourage adults to understand the significance of summer reading, and to take action by committing to read with a child every day during the summer. These materials will be available at the sites of our partners. Other people who are interested in the program may call 1-800-USA-LEARN.

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