WASHINGTON (AP) — Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan read to excited children and cheered them on as she helped kick off the Education Department’s “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” summer program.

About 175 preschool and elementary age children joined her Wednesday at an event encouraging healthy food, physical activity and summer reading. The children helped make snacks using fruits and vegetables before competing in a variety of indoor relays.

In addition to staying active, the “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” initiative encourages summer reading and provides youth with information about eating health and affordable foods.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan hosted the kickoff, which was the first of five planned summer events in the nation’s capital and its suburbs. He, Kwan and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and Sam Kass, director of “Let’s Move!,” read “Picky Peggy” and “Can I Play Too?” to the kids, who were from summer programs across the Washington area.

Kwan high-fived the children as they completed the “Shopping Cart Nutrition Race” and cheered them on during the “Make a Salad Relay.” The physical activities were inspired by first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to combat childhood obesity.

Kwan hopes her presence taught the children that having an active and healthy lifestyle includes eating healthy and reading daily. She said a healthy lifestyle was essential to her athletic and personal success.

“I would train four, five hours a day. And then in between during my rest periods is where I would always try to pick up a book and continue to read,” Kwan explained.

The “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” series partners with the YMCA, the Target Corporation and Giant Foods.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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