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November 15, 2001

Governor and Mrs. Ryan Challenge Kids to Read with New “Illinois Reads in Special Places” Campaign

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. George H. Ryan today announced a new campaign to challenge children to read. Recognizing that every community has a “special place”—a centerpiece that marks the individuality of each city, village or town in Illinois-- the “Illinois Reads in Special Places” campaign encourages school classes to take time to read at that place and then submit drawings, essays, poems of the experience to the Governor’s office in Springfield.

“This campaign encourages schools and communities to work together to help kids come up with creative places to read,” Gov. Ryan said. “It is my hope that with this program, children will discover a new love of reading.”

The campaign’s concept originated from a field trip that children from Harding Elementary School in Monmouth took to the Executive Mansion to read children’s books in the library. After the event, the class drew pictures and wrote about their experience of reading at the mansion. “Illinois Reads in Special Places” takes this concept a step further: into every community in Illinois.

As an added incentive, at the end of the campaign in April 2002, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Literacy will choose the most creative works submitted by the children, and compile them into a published book of “special places” to read in Illinois.

Several school districts in Illinois have already begun their search for special places to read. Middle school children in Springfield are planning to visit at a local mall. Children in Quincy are going to read at their town’s Court House. In Marion, children are finding different places to read within their school. And in West Aurora children are visiting local historic sites and reading about people who lived and worked there.

Governor Ryan created the Illinois Reads program as part of his continuing commitment to education and literacy. Through Illinois Reads, Gov. Ryan aims to help children read well by the time they reach the third grade.


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