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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2001

Ryan Announces Reading School-Home Links in 170 Illinois Elementary Schools

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers from 170 schools across the state have just received a new tool to help their students excel in reading. Created in cooperation with Gov. Ryan's Advisory Council on Literacy and Illinois Reads, School-Home Links are activities that teachers ask families to use with their children at home to reinforce reading concepts taught in the classroom.

"With School-Home Links, we can be sure that what is taught in the classroom is being reinforced at home," Gov. Ryan said. "These activities will help children make learning a part of their lives, both in and outside of the classroom."

Each School-Home Link helps children practice skills that will better enable them to meet Illinois State Language Arts Learning Standards. They were originally developed by two elementary school faculties and then refined by the U.S. Department of Education in cooperation with the Boston Annenberg Challenge.

Teachers can assign the grade-appropriate School-Home Link as often as three times a week. Both parents and children are asked to work together to complete the different reading activities, which will be kept by the teacher in the student's portfolio.

The School-Home Links were aligned with the Illinois State Standards by Illinois Family Education Center (IFEC) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and field-tested by IFEC in 32 East St. Louis schools during the 1999-2000 school year.

"The School-Home Links provide regular communication between teachers and parents about what a child is learning, prompts parent-child interaction at home, and extends learning time to build children's reading skills," said IFEC Executive Director Sam Redding.

The School-Home Links represent an integral part of Gov. Ryan's commitment to promoting literacy. He recently created the Summer Bridges program, providing an extended learning experience to children who are at risk of academic failure and encourages them to improve their reading skills. In 2000, 75 school districts reported that at least 60 percent of students who participated in the Summer Bridges program demonstrated an improvement in their reading ability.

In 1999 Gov. Ryan formed an Advisory Council on Literacy, which consists of 20 members representing diverse interests. The Office on Literacy and the advisory council aim to increase the number of literate adults and help all children read well by the end of third grade.

Last year, Gov. Ryan launched the Illinois Reads initiative to coordinate and improve literacy policies and programs. Illinois Reads maintains a website (illinoisreads.org) that is a clearinghouse of reading and literacy resources in Illinois.


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