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For Immediate Release
March 1, 2006

Twenty School Districts to Receive Reading Grant Funds

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced a third round of Reading First Grants. The funding is awarded to Illinois Schools for implementing innovative reading programs and promoting student achievement.

Twenty Illinois schools districts will share almost $38 million through the federal No Child Left Behind’s Reading First Program. The grant awards are designed to improve reading achievement in grades pre-kindergarten through third by implementing a classroom reading program based on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency and reading strategies.

“It is critical that all children learn to read well at an early age,” said Randy Dunn, State School Superintendent. “Every child deserves the opportunity to learn to read and succeed in school--indeed, reading is the basis for so much future success in school--and Reading First Grants will give many more young students that chance.”

These grant awards will allow these 20 school districts to participate in the Reading First Program during the remainder of FY06 and FY07. These same districts may be offered continuation of funding in Reading First through FY09 contingent upon documentation of satisfactory program implementation and positive student reading outcomes.

The districts receiving third round Reading First Grants include:

  1. Lincoln Elementary School District 156
  2. Cicero School District 99
  3. East Alton School District 13
  4. City of Chicago School District 299
  5. Springfield Public School District 186
  6. Kankakee School District 111
  7. Aurora West Unit School District 129
  8. Scott-Morgan Community Unit School District 2
  9. Country Club Hills School District 160
  10. Joliet Public School District 86
  11. Park Forest School District 163
  12. Bellwood School District 88
  13. Harvey School District 152
  14. Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89
  15. Fairmont School District 89
  16. Dolton West School District 148
  17. Akin Consolidated School District 91
  18. Brookwood School District 167
  19. Madison Unit School District 12
  20. Peoria Public School District 150

The focus of the Illinois Reading First grant is to support districts and schools in their efforts to implement a comprehensive reading program for K- 3 students that is grounded in scientifically based reading research (SBRR) and scientifically based reading instruction. The program will assist school districts in applying this research in the classroom, including proven instructional and assessment tools, in order to teach all children to read well.

The “Reading First" grants will be used to:

  • Provide professional development that recognizes and removes barriers to reading;
  • Help schools choose appropriate assessments, implement scientifically-proven literacy programs and learning strategies;
  • Help schools and communities improve family literacy; and
  • Support early literacy in students and families where English is not their native language.

The Reading First Program, is a six-year, six-billion-dollar program that provides grants to states to target their most disadvantaged school districts with funds to pay for professional development for reading teachers, instructional materials, and assessment tools that will improve the quality and effectiveness of reading instruction for all K-3 students.

For further information please go to this website

Should you have any questions/concerns about the Reading First Program please contact:

Debra Coet-Hanna
Reading First Consultant
(217) 557-7232


Dr. Maureen Richel
Reading First Consultant
(312) 814-3598

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777