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April 6, 2005

Vivian Myrtetus
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy Addresses Reading Professional Development Conference

ORLANDO — State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy today addressed 450 Florida educators who will train K-3 teachers this summer on research-based reading instruction. The training is provided as part of Florida’s federal Reading First grant.

"Florida is committed to providing quality professional development for our number one priority — reading," said Chairman Handy. "I applaud these educators who spend their summer sharing their expertise with their colleagues so that all children can become successful, independent readers."

Over 8,000 teachers and reading coaches will attend Just Read, Florida! Reading Academies this summer, offered free to any K-3 teacher statewide. The academies provide teachers with the latest research on effective reading instruction. The training is provided by Florida teachers and reading coaches trained through Reading First grants.

"Florida’s focus on reading has paid off," said Education Commissioner John L. Winn. "Our students are making amazing progress and the training offered to teachers this summer will continue that momentum."

Since 2002, approximately seven hundred trainers have been trained to deliver the Just Read, Florida!/Reading First four day summer academy curriculum. Approximately forty academies are held each summer; more than 16,000 K-3 teachers have attended academies all over the state and are implementing scientifically-based instruction in their classrooms.

In September 2001, Governor Bush signed an executive order creating the Just Read, Florida! initiative. The initiative was designed to guide changes at every level of education to have a positive impact on reading outcomes in Florida schools. It also provides for parent, business and community involvement. The ultimate goal of the reading initiative is that every child read at or above grade level by 2012.

For more information on Just Read, Florida! please visit