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May 10, 2005

First Lady Patti Blagojevich Unveils New Spanish Educational Materials Available For Children
Illinois Department of Natural Resources books will give Latino children a fun insight in Spanish into the state’s wildlife

CHICAGO-Illinois First Lady Patti Blagojevich today joined officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to unveil a series of children’s books that have been translated in Spanish.  The books, available for free from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, help foster an appreciation for Illinois natural resources while providing a variety of activities that are fun and educational for the entire family.


“One of my most important goals as First Lady of Illinois is to educate parents on the importance of early childhood education and childhood literacy,” said Mrs. Blagojevich.  “Reading with and to your children is one of the most unforgettable experiences a child can have, and this series of books from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources encourages families to enjoy time together, have fun, learn about our state, and enrich their children’s education. By translating these books into Spanish, we are offering thousands of Latino families for whom English is a second language, new learning opportunities in their mother’s tongue, as well as a wonderful window to find out more about Illinois’ rich wildlife.  These books underscore the commitment of my husband’s administration to making education a top priority in Illinois.”
The books are the first Illinois Department of Natural Resources educational materials to be translated into another language. They are available free of charge, and can be ordered online via e-mail at teachkids@dnrmail.state.il.us or by calling 217-524-4126.  The books incorporate the learning standards that are in place in Illinois schools. Lesson plans for teachers interested in using the books in a classroom setting are also available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“As a former teacher myself, I know that these books will be a valuable resource in the classroom,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “It can be challenging to find materials that are free, high quality, and Illinois-specific. These meet those criteria and more—because they are fun.”
Children that have reading materials available in their primary language feel more comfortable in the classroom, and the Illinois State Board of Education reports that one in ten students in the state are Spanish speakers.These books are important because they help nurture an appreciation for Illinois’ natural resources in all Illinois residents, and represent the commitment of Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to serve the needs of Illinois students and their families.
“As summer arrives, kids are climbing trees, picking flowers, and chasing lizards,” said Leslie Sgro, IDNR Deputy Director. “These books give children a chance to put a name with the plants and animals that surround them. Students who make the connection to our natural resources through education are more likely to be stewards of them in the future.”
The educational materials were unveiled today during a press conference at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Copies of these books were provided to over 40 first and second grade children from the Pilsen Community Academy. The public school, in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, is 98 percent Latino. Some 365,000 of the state’s 2.06 million students enrolled in public schools are Latino.
After the press conference, the students enjoyed a tour around the Museum, where they had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at many of the species described in the books.
The books will also be available at the Teacher Resources Fairs being hosted in cooperation between the IDNR and the Chicago Public Schools on May 16-19th. 
Books currently available include:
Book (Spanish Title)
English Title
Target Age
"Alas, Aguijones y Cosas Zanquilargas: Insectos de Illinois"
Stings and Leggy Things
Coloring pages, information and plenty of student activities about
insects are included in this item.
Targeted Grades: PreK-8.
"Aves Comunes de Illinois"
Illinois Common Birds
This activity book contains coloring pages for 18 bird species found
in Illinois. Student activities and information are also included.
Targeted Grades: 4-8.
"Aves de Caza de Illinois"
(Masters of the Air)
Coloring pages depicting 16 species of Illinois owls and hawks,
information and activities about these raptors are included in this
Targeted Grades: K-8.
"Criaturas de la Noche"
Creatures of the Night
This activity book contains coloring pages, student activities and
information about nocturnal species.
Targeted Grades: PreK-6.
"Los Arboles de Illinois: Libro de Identificación y Actividades"
Trees: An Identification and Activity Book
This book contains a key to the 15 tree species depicted on the
"Illinois Trees: Seeds and Leaves" poster plus activities to complete
and illustrations to color.
Targeted Grades: 4-8.
"Mucosa, Escamas y Colas de Necturus"
(Slime, Scales and Mudpuppy
Learn about reptiles and amphibians with this activity book. Coloring
pages, activities and information are included
 Targeted Grades:
Books that will be available in coming weeks include:
Book (Spanish Title)
English Title
Mamíferos de Illinois
Illinois Mammals
Símbolos Estatalesde Illinois
Illinois' State Symbols
Recursos Acuáticos de Illinois
Aquatic Resources of Illinois
Childhood literacy is an issue particularly important to Mrs. Blagojevich. In February, The First Lady launched “The Children’s Reading Club” literacy initiative to encourage parents to read with their children. “The Children’s Reading Club” consists of a recommended reading list of books the First Lady and her daughters enjoy reading at home. Each month, the First Lady selects a featured book that she believes children, as well as their parents, will enjoy. May’s book selection is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Previous book selections include In their own words: Abraham Lincoln by George Sullivan, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Each month’s book selection is featured on the First Lady’s website, http://www.illinois.gov/firstlady


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