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RESPONSE TO TERROR

Senate Panel Hears From First Lady

January 25, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — First Lady Laura Bush swiftly dispensed with the eerie memory of her Senate debut Thursday and delved into the dynamics of early childhood learning.

"The years between diapers and the first backpacks" will determine whether a child will succeed in school and make it to college, Bush told a half-dozen members of the Senate Education Committee.

The hearing was a return engagement for Bush. Her scheduled testimony in the same Capitol Hill caucus room on Sept. 11 was abruptly called off, and Secret Service agents rushed her to a secret bunker instead.

The first lady discussed her experiences as a mother, grade-school teacher and librarian. She recalled playing sing-songy word games with her twin baby girls and said all parents need to know that such activities in infancy are critical to developing children's reading and language skills.

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