While I was in Miami a few weeks back, I snuck a peak at my hometown’s Barnes and Noble to see what the natives were reading this summer. Now, I can go on and on about the reading list (which included Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, edited by my mentor Alvina Ling) but what caught my attention was the sign on the table.
“Just read, Florida!”
I’ve seen that slogan before, “Just Read, Florida!” on a banner by the state’s capital back when I was a student at Florida State. At the time I just dismissed it as a onetime attempt to inspire the state to pick up a book and read it. My boyfriend and I even joked about it at the time, “C’mon Florida, just pick up a fucking book and read one page!” Cause…let’s face it, Florida may be known for such great things like Disney World and la chupacabra, but it’s not going to win any awards for its education.
So here we are, some 6 years later, and I still see the words being advertized. It’s even graduated from banner status to signage at B&N. I whipped out my phone and googled “Just read, Florida!” to see what I would get. And who would’ve guessed it? It’s a legit literary program founded in 2001 aimed at developing the reading comprehension levels of children by bringing together three vital elements: educators, parents and community.
That’s fucking amazing!
Here’s a link to the program. Check it out! They even got a quote from Rod Paige.
“Reading is the foundation of all learning. Our children must learn to read well if they’re to excel in life and achieve their dreams. The Just Read, Florida! Initiative is helping to ensure a brighter future for all the children in Florida.”
– Former US Secretary of Education Rod Paige