Albany, Ore. -- A book, music and hands-on science were part of the afternoon lesson at South Shore Elementary School here.

The first-graders participated in a kick-off event for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation's Annual Literacy Project for elementary students statewide.

The project is designed to improve literacy of young readers, and their knowledge of agriculture. Each year the project features a book with ties to agriculture and a related hands-on activity that reinforces the book.

The kick-off event featured the musical talents of Mike Martin, and Reta Thomas while master educator Carolyn Jackson read the book to the student.

This year's featured book is "Seed, Soil, Sun" by Cris Peterson. It describes the process by which air and water combine with seeds, soil and sun to create the food we eat. Following the reading, students made desktop seed germination units.

Last year's literacy project -- the fourth year -- had 515 volunteers read to 15,780 students in 30 counties across the state. It is anticipated that up to 20,000 students will participate this spring, according to Tami Kerr, AITC executive director.

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