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Summer Reading List Encourages Exploration

June 5, 2009

List gives readers the opportunity to learn about many of Florida’s natural treasures

TALLAHASSEE - In celebration of World Environment Day, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced a recommended summer reading list that promotes the beauty and adventure found in many of Florida’s natural wonders. Selections in the list provide a focus on Florida’s State Parks but also offer information about other unique ecological settings.

“Students can continue their learning in fun ways by reading about and exploring our State Parks during the summer months,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I encourage families to take the time to celebrate Florida’s rich and diverse backdrop through literacy; not only this summer, but throughout the year.”

In addition to the summer reading list, DEP’s recently launched Rediscover Florida - 100 Ways in 100 Days campaign encourages families to enhance their Florida “discovery” experience. The Rediscover Florida effort aims to increase awareness of all the activities Florida’s public lands offer - from the traditional (hiking, biking, and camping) to the unique (festivals, historic reenactments and museums). Visitors to the Rediscover Florida Web site can explore an interactive list of 100 activities and track how many of the activities they can complete.

“Summer is the perfect time for students to expand their literary horizons and become engaged in protecting the environment by reading about the outdoors,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “By promoting literature focused on Florida’s diverse natural resources, we hope to harness students’ interest in environmental stewardship and academic success.”

Research indicates that children who do not continue to read during the summer months risk losing progress made during the school year. To help families get started on their summer learning and exploring experience, the summer reading list offers selections such as:

  • Read Henry the Impatient Heron by Donna Love and visit Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine (grades K-3)
  • Read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and visit Long Key State Park in Long Key (grades 4-5)
  • Read John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes and visit Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee (grades 6-8)
  • Read The Everglades, River of Grass by Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and visit the Everglades at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in Copeland (grades 9-12)

To view DOE’s Summer Reading list, visit To learn more about the Rediscover Florida campaign, visit and click Rediscover Florida.

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