News

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2011

State officials join to promote summer reading and `Find a Book’ search tool


Governor Quinn, Secretary White and State Superintendent Koch urge educators and parents to keep children reading during summer vacation

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White and State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch are urging educators and families to help students retain and develop academic skills by reading during summer vacation. The free online “Find a Book” utility at www.lexile.com/findabook provides a way for parents and children to quickly and easily search books that match a child’s reading level and interests as well as to locate the local library carrying each title.

“We must all work together to encourage children to read throughout the summer,” said Governor Quinn. “Summer reading is a key to building knowledge and to preventing students from losing hard-earned progress gained during the school year.”

Research indicates that struggling learners score significantly higher on standardized tests taken at the beginning of the summer than they do on the same tests taken at summer’s end. The academic loss is particularly evident in reading, and most pronounced among students from low socioeconomic families who may not have access to books. Studies show children who read through the summer months maintain more of their academic skills and are better prepared when school resumes.

“Parents want their children to succeed academically and are often looking for ways to support their children’s educational journey,” said State Superintendent Koch. “The `Find a Book’ search tool makes it easy to put books in the hands of children as part of their summertime fun and helps prepare children to succeed in the fall.”

The "Find a Book" utility at www.lexile.com/findabook uses a student's reading score reported as a Lexile® measure from state standardized tests, including the ISAT. Users of the search tool can also find appropriate books without a Lexile measure through a search using the child's grade level and comfort with the typical reading materials at that grade level. The search utility will produce a starting Lexile range that can be further refined.

"Find a Book" also offers a Spanish option that allows users to search all of the titles with Spanish Lexile measures. More information on Spanish Lexile measures is available at http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/el-sistema-para-leer.

Librarians, who have long promoted summer reading, are also encouraged to use “Find a Book.” Library staff can assist parents and students with the “Find a Book” utility and Lexile measures to help them find appropriate books.

“Many of our Illinois libraries have outstanding summer reading programs, and the `Find a Book’ search tool complements those efforts by locating books that children might be interested in reading and directing them to local libraries that carry those titles,” said Secretary White who also serves as State Librarian. “When children begin reading independently, they are not only making academic gains but developing a lifelong love of reading.”

State officials urged school administrators, parents and librarians to promote summer reading with letters and informational flyers posted online at the State Board of Education’s summer reading website: http://www.isbe.net/htmls/summer_reading.htm. Schools are encouraged to print the letters and flyers to send home with children before the end of the school year.

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