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October 29, 2001

Reading Kits Help Teachers Improve Reading Achievement

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan and the Illinois State Board of Education will provide teachers with "reading kits," for the second year in a row. A part of Gov. Ryan's Illinois Reads initiative, Reading Kits are a valuable resource for improving reading achievement in Illinois classrooms.

"We know how important it is for our children to be armed with reading skills by the end of third grade, and we also know that adult education and literacy programs are an important link in meeting Illinois’ growing need for a skilled workforce,” Gov. Ryan said. “These reading kits have proven to be a valuable tool in improving students’ reading abilities.”

This year’s third grade classroom teachers, primary bilingual/ESL teachers and early reading support teachers and specialists will receive new kits, while pre-kindergarten through second grade teachers and building principals who received kits last fall will receive supplements to update their material. In all, over 70,000 kits and updates will be distributed.

"The feedback we received about last year's kits was overwhelmingly positive," said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee. "Early elementary teachers and principals found the materials very useful in helping students learn to read."

The kits and updates include copies of the Illinois Learning Standards for language arts, model lessons, journal articles, professional books, classroom teaching tools, children's books, demonstration video CDs, the Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy and a bibliography of additional resources.

The kits were developed for teachers by teachers, curriculum specialists, and teacher educators. They are based on research and best practices and are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards.

The Regional Offices of Education, the Intermediate Service Centers, and Chicago Public School District 299 will begin distributing reading kits to local school districts in early November. Building principals and teachers will attend Kit Overview meetings to preview resources in the kits and updates and to pick up kits and updates for their schools. This distribution and overview process has helped to increase the kits' effectiveness and encourages local school districts to use the materials in a team approach for ongoing professional development.

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. For more information, visit the Illinois Reads website at www.illinoisreads.org.


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