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August 21, 2000

"Reading Kits" to Help Teachers Improve Reading Achievement

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that early elementary teachers will get help from the state this fall in the form of "reading kits," distributed by the State Board of Education to pre-kindergarten through second-grade teachers and building principals.

"The skill of reading is so vitally important to future success that we must ensure that all children learn to read at grade level by the completion of third grade," emphasized Governor George H. Ryan.

"The kits are a new tool for helping children in the early grades master this essential skill," said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee. "They are also part of our commitment to help make Illinois students and schools Second to None."

The kits were developed for teachers by teachers and are the latest collaboration between ISBE and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan's Futures for Kids program. Materials are based on best practices and research and aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards.

Specifically, the kits include copies of the Learning Standards for language arts, model lessons, journal articles, professional books, classroom teaching tools, children's books, a bibliography of additional resources and demonstration videos for principals and teachers.

Last September the State Board began a statewide reading initiative to improve reading instruction and achievement of the Illinois Learning Standards in reading. The reading kits are a product of the initiative.

The state's 45 Regional Offices of Education and three Intermediate Service Centers will distribute 24,000 of the kits next month and provide a preview of the materials to principals and teachers. The educators will then take the kits back to their schools along with an understanding of their contents and effective ways to use them.

The Illinois Standards Achievement Tests given to students in 1999 indicated that in grade 3, 61% of the state's public school students met or exceeded state Standards in Reading; at fifth grade, 61%; eighth grade, 72%; and tenth grade, 70%.


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