First Lady Joins GMA to Encourage Child Literacy

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Since June 2002, ABC News' Good Morning America has been promoting the fun of reading to adults through its "Read This!" book club segment, which airs monthly. Now, the popular morning show has taken aim at children's literacy with the launch of Book Drive America, an effort to bring books to children, schools, libraries, and community centers in need across the country. GMA is teaming up with First Book, a national nonprofit organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. On Wednesday, September 24, First Lady Laura Bush appeared on the morning show to help launch the effort, which asks viewers to support the effort by making financial contributions through the First Book Web site,

Shelley Ross, GMA's executive producer, said it was last February that she and the First Lady first discussed how the lack of reading material is a serious problem in many schools and households. "For many children in this country, the only book in their home is the phone book," Ross said in a statement. "The message was simple -- get books to children, and they will learn. I knew [GMA] could make a difference."

The first "stop" will be Thursday, September 25, at the Maurice Tobin Elementary School in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The school suffered major budget cuts and had to close its library. ABC's morning show will bring 1,000 new books to the school and distribute another 4,000 books around the Boston area in a brightly colored Book Drive America RV.

GMA and First Book will continue to travel across the country during the school year to bring reading materials to various communities in need and will be relying on monetary donations from people across the country in order to purchase books for deserving children.

"It is astonishing that millions of America's children have no access to books, but it is indeed the case," said Kyle Zimmer, president of First Book. "These children are waiting for our help. First Book salutes [GMA]'s leadership in this national effort that will spark the imagination of children nationwide."

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