#54 launches "Just Read It"

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Thousands of Duval County elementary and middle school students are being encouraged to "Just Read It" by Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson. The veteran NFL star announced the new incentive program, titled "Just Read It Star of the Month," on Tuesday at Lake Forest Elementary School and Paxon Middle School.

"Growing up, reading was one of my favorite subjects in school," Peterson said. "We believe this program will help kids become better readers and teach them to enjoy reading as much as I do."

Peterson was joined in the announcement by representatives from Duval County Public Schools, as well as hundreds of children at each school. Lake Forest and Paxon were selected to host the events based on the gains each school made in reading on the 2007 FCAT.

The incentive program is designed to award outstanding students at the elementary and middle school level for reading improvement, their commitment to reading and attendance. Beginning this month, teachers and staff at every Duval County elementary and middle school can nominate students in grades three through eight based on pre-established program criteria. Two students from each school will be selected to represent the school in the monthly county-wide competition.

A selection committee, comprised of representatives from the Mike Peterson Foundation and Duval County Public Schools, will score the monthly student nominations submitted by each school. The top six scores in both divisions (elementary and middle) will be named "Just Read It Stars of the Month," and will receive a personalized award, as well as an exclusive visit with Peterson at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. At the conclusion of the school year, all 84 monthly winners will attend a year-end celebration hosted by Peterson that includes a cook-out, games and activities.

Peterson created the Mike Peterson Foundation as a means of giving back to his hometown of Alachua and his NFL hometown of Jacksonville. The Foundation's mission is to support families in need in the community and to stimulate the positive development of youth through football, academic and other outreach projects. For additional information on "Just Read It Star of the Month" or the Foundation, please visit www.mikepeterson54.com

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