Illinois State Library (ISL) Communications Manager Pat McGuckin announced today Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, is joining Patrick Quinn III, Governor of Illinois, and Christopher A. Koch, Illinois Superintendent of Education, “in urging librarians, educators, and families to use the free online ‘Find a Book’ search tool to ensure students continue reading while they are out of school this summer. ‘Find a Book’ is located here and provides a way for librarians, parents and children to quickly and easily search for books that match a child’s reading level and interests. ‘Find a Book’ also helps locate a local library carrying each book title.”
“Our Illinois libraries have long promoted year round reading and the `Find a Book’ search tool complements such efforts,’’ said Secretary of State Jesse White. “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.”
“Just because school doors are closing doesn’t mean learning should stop,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “Summer reading helps students retain and develop academic skills so they’re ready to go when the school bell rings in the new school year.”
Studies have shown over and over again that struggling learners score significantly higher on standardized tests taken at the start of summer (the end of the school year) than they do on the same tests taken at summer’s end (the start of the school year). The academic loss is particularly evident in reading, and most pronounced among students from poor families who may not have access to books at home. Something else studies haven is that schoolchildren who read through the summer months maintain more of their academic skills and are better prepared when school resumes.
“Families can prevent the summer reading slide 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.”
“Find a Book”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 to read material above his or her Lexile range, the text may challenge the student and his or her ability to construct meaning from the reading, and the experience may decrease. Likewise, material below a reader’s Lexile range will provide him or her with little challenge in comprehension.
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-language option that allows users to search all of the titles with Spanish Lexile measures. More information on Spanish Lexile measures is available here.
School administrators, parents, and librarians can promote summer reading with letters and informational flyers posted online at the Illinois State Board of Education’s summer reading Web site. The letters and flyers may be printed and sent home with children before the end of the school year.
Illinois Public Library Annual Reports (IPLAR) Due
McGuckin wants to remind librarians at public libraries, “Illinois Public Library Annual Reports for city, incorporated town, village and township libraries are now due 60 days after the expiration of each municipal fiscal year (P.A. 97-0101, eff. 1/1/12). This is a change from the 30 days submission period required in previous years.”
Robert Hartley, author of a number of books about Illinois-related subjects, has donated fifteen hardcover copies each of two of his books, to be distributed to Illinois libraries on a first-come, first-served basis. The two books are Paul Powell of Illinois: A Lifelong Democrat and Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters.
Libraries may request only one copy of each title. The ISL will send the books via ILDS. If you would like a free copy of these books, e-mail Marti Martin at mmartin [at] ilsos.net with the subject “Book Donation.”