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Laura Welch Bush

First Lady Laura Bush. White House photo by Susan Sterner

Laura Welch Bush shares America's concerns about the education of our children. Through her national initiative called Ready to Read, Ready to Learn, she stresses that America's children can't wait to read. In fact, they should have a book and an adult to read with long before they start school.

She urges more Americans to become teachers; discusses preparing young children for learning and school; and wants parents and other adults to have important information on child rearing and cognitive development.

On September 8, 2001, Mrs. Bush launched the first National Book Festival, which featured authors from across the nation and was attended by 30,000 people. Building on the success of the first festival, Mrs. Bush hosted the second annual National Book Festival on October 12, 2002. Seventy award-winning authors, illustrators and storytellers participated in the event which was attended by 45,000 people. Mrs. Ludmila Putina, wife of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, traveled to America to attend the festival.

Since the tragedy of September 11, Mrs. Bush has focused her energy on helping our nation, especially children, through the healing process. She encourages Americans to spend more time together as families and support the teachers who take care of their children every day in school.

Mrs. Bush joined a worldwide effort to stop the Taliban's oppression of women and children in Afghanistan. In November 2001, Mrs. Bush became the first First Lady in history to record a full presidential radio address, speaking out on the plight of women and children under the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan. In May 2002, Mrs. Bush addressed the people of Afghanistan through Radio Liberty in Prague, the capitol of the Czech Republic.

In her speeches and public appearances, she expresses what many Americans believe: that every human being should be treated with dignity; and that no child should be left behind in school, or in life.

Mrs. Bush is also interested in women's health issues - particularly heart disease and breast cancer awareness. In Texas, she worked with the Governor's Spouse Program of the National Governors Association to promote women's health issues. She worked to establish Adopt-A-Caseworker programs and Rainbow Rooms throughout Texas. Rainbow rooms provide abused and neglected children with basic necessities such as clothing and diapers.

Her love of education and reading began in her youngest years and guided her to a career as a Texas public school teacher and librarian.

She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1968. After college, she worked as a teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in the Dallas Independent School District until 1969 and then moved to Houston, Texas, where she taught at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District until 1972.

Later, she enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Master of Library Science degree in 1973. Afterward, she worked at the Houston Public Library, Kashmere Gardens Branch until she moved back to Austin in 1974.

She worked as a librarian at Dawson Elementary School until 1977, when she met George Walker Bush at the home of mutual friends. They married in November 1977 and made their home in Midland. In 1981, George and Laura Bush became the proud parents of twin girls, who are named Barbara and Jenna, after their grandmothers.

Today she brings her experienced viewpoints, her love of children and her interest in education to a much broader audience as the wife of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

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