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PRESS RELEASE

April 25, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida Receives International Reading Award
~ Just Read, Florida! initiative recognized with prestigious Five-Star Policy Award ~

TALLAHASSEE - Florida was recently announced as one of only two states to receive a Five-Star Policy Award from the International Reading Association (IRA) this year. The award is part of the IRA’s Five-Star Policy Recognition Program, which encourages states and provinces to adopt and implement policies that support effective literacy instruction for all children. Since the program’s inception in 2001, only eight states have earned the award.

"This award serves as further verification that Florida’s reading initiatives and strategies are making a difference," said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. "I commend the Just Read, Florida! team for the unwavering commitment they have shown in providing Florida’s children with the gift of literacy."

The award will be officially presented during the Council Awards Ceremony in Atlanta on Sunday, May 4, 2008. Florida is being recognized for completing stage one of the Five-Star Policy Award comprehensive two-stage, two-year process:

  • Stage 1: State or provincial IRA councils begin the recognition process by completing nomination forms for their state or province. Based on the information provided in the forms, IRA will determine whether the state or province has promising policies in each of the five star areas.
  • Stage 2: The state or provincial council will work with government officials and representatives of IRA to determine if the promising policies are being implemented.

Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida’s public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. It is based on the latest reading research, which includes emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

IRA was founded in 1956 as a nonprofit professional organization for those involved in teaching reading to learners of all ages. IRA members are dedicated to promoting high levels of literacy for all by improving the quality of reading instruction, disseminating research and information about reading, and encouraging the lifetime reading habit.

For more information about Just Read, Florida!, visit: www.justreadflorida.com. To learn more about the International Reading Association, visit www.reading.org.

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