News

For Immediate Release
May 14, 2013

Governor Quinn, Secretary White and State Superintendent Koch Encourage Students to Use Free Reading Tool During Summer Break


“Find a Book” Search Tool Aims to Fight Summer Learning Loss

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White and State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch today encouraged all students across Illinois to access a free online tool designed to promote summer reading and keep students” brains active before school resumes in the fall. State leaders agree that summer vacation should not signal a break from learning for Illinois” 2 million students.

“By reading during summer months, students can build a strong bridge from one school year to the next,” Governor Quinn said. “This free online tool is a great way for children to spend time with their parents while sharpening reading skills and preparing for the year ahead.”

The 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 locate a local library carrying each title.

Research shows that struggling learners score significantly higher on standardized tests taken at the start of summer than they do on the same tests taken at summer”s end. This summer learning loss is particularly evident in reading and is most pronounced among students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who may not have access to books. Studies show children who read through the summer months retain more of their academic skills and are better prepared to learn at the start of the school year.

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.

“Libraries in Illinois promote reading year round, and the 'Find a Book' search tool complements those efforts,” said Secretary of State Jesse White, who serves as State Librarian. “I urge parents to read with their children every day to help them develop a lifelong love of reading and learning. When children begin reading on their own, they make gains in the classroom and open themselves to new and exciting worlds.”

The "Find a Book" utility uses a student's reading score, reported as a Lexile® measure, from state standardized tests, including the ISAT, to provide a Lexile range and corresponding list of texts within that range. The Lexile range for a reader is from 50L above his or her Lexile measure to 100L below. If a student attempts to read material above their Lexile range, the text may challenge the student and his or her ability to construct meaning from the reading experience may decrease. Likewise, material below a reader's Lexile range will provide him or her with little comprehension challenge.

The Lexile® Framework was used in the development of the reading standards for the new Common Core State Standards, which schools across the state are in the process of implementing. The new standards replace the outdated Illinois State Learning Standards and ensure students leave high school ready for college and careers.

Users of the “Find a Book” 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.

“Reading builds knowledge and is crucial to students” long-term success,” State Superintendent Koch said. “Good reading habits begin at home. Parents can help their children develop strong reading skills by using the ‘Find a Book” site to find age-appropriate materials that will keep their students engaged and excited about learning.”

"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.

State officials urge 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/find-a-book/.

They also encourage parents and educators to participate in Illinois Reads, a statewide literacy program launched by the Illinois Reading Council to encourage state residents of all ages to read books by Illinois authors. Secretary of State White serves as honorary chair of the program and more information, including recommended children titles, can be found at www.illinoisreads.org.

 

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