News

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2012

State officials join to promote summer reading


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 urge educators and families to ensure students read during 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 locate a local library carrying each title. Reading during the summer helps students retain and develop academic skills.

“Readers are leaders and we want our children continuing to learn throughout the summer,” Governor Quinn said. “Summer reading helps students retain and develop academic skills, so they’re well-prepared to return to school in the fall.”

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 can ensure their children maintain reading skills by checking out the free “Find a Book” site and building a summer reading list today,” said State Superintendent Koch. “The more parents help their children make time for reading, the more likely they’ll see successful students.”

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, 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 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.

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.

"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.

“Our Illinois libraries have long promoted year round reading and the `Find a Book’ search tool complements such efforts,’’ said Secretary White who also serves as State Librarian. “I encourage parents to read with their children every day to ensure a lifelong love of reading. When children begin reading independently, they are not only making academic gains but opening themselves to new worlds.”

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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