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Obama said he came to Viers Mill Elementary School because it is "a great example of how much improvement a school can make."
updated 10/19/2009 3:29:55 PM ET 2009-10-19T19:29:55

President Barack Obama made an visit to a Maryland school to congratulate the students and teachers on their hard work.

Obama stopped by Viers Mill Elementary School outside Washington, where he met with third- and fourth-grade students during their lunch period. The school receives federal poverty aid and has been celebrated for closing the achievement gap between minority children and other students.

The president made his way through the cafeteria, shaking hands with students and asking them what they were reading.

Obama said he came to Viers Mill because it is "a great example of how much improvement a school can make."

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The president also told the kids one of his favorite books growing up was "Where the Wild Things Are." That book has been turned into a new movie, and Obama told the school kids that he watched it with his family over the weekend.

Obama spent about 20 minutes with the students before heading back to the White House.

Earlier, the president and first lady Michelle Obama attended parent-teacher conferences at their daughters' private school.

The Obamas traveled by motorcade Monday morning to the elementary school campus of the private Sidwell Friends School, where Sasha, 8, is a third-grader.

Then they went to Sidwell's Washington, D.C., middle school campus, where Malia, 11, is a sixth-grader.

The school was told ahead of time that the first lady was coming, but the president's visit was a surprise, the White House said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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