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Press Release

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

DOS Press Office
(850) 245-6527

Department of Education Launches Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure in Partnership with Department of State

~ Students provided free online book search to encourage more reading all year long ~

TALLAHASSEE – Students looking to gain a head start to the 2010 school year have just the tool to help them broaden their imaginations, stay engaged and learn throughout the summer. The Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure encourages students to use an interactive resource called “Find a Book,” a free online book search developed by MetaMetrics®, that will help them create reading lists based on their interests and reading ability, and make it easier for them to locate their selections at their local public libraries. Florida Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and the Florida Department of State are encouraging all students to read more throughout the summer and into the school year.

Studies have consistently shown that students who read throughout the year are able to retain their knowledge and continue to learn. The “Find a Book” search, in conjunction with the Florida Library Youth Program in public libraries, promotes the retention and growth of students’ reading skills during the summer break.

“Encouraging more students to read this summer is the primary goal of the Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure, as reading can help students explore exciting realms from the comfort of their homes or public libraries,” said Commissioner Smith. “Our partnership with the Department of State and MetaMetrics® to utilize the ‘Find a Book’ tool allows us to use students’ interests as the catalyst to take reading beyond the classroom walls and into their daily lives.”

Tens of thousands of fiction and nonfiction books, including titles from this year’s Recommended Summer Reading List (PDF) from the Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! Office, are available in “Find a Book.” The book search is unique in that it matches a book’s text complexity with a student’s reading ability using Lexile measures. Lexile measures are the most widely adopted reading metrics used in the country. Each year, more than 30 million Lexile measures are reported from reading assessments and programs—representing over half of U.S. students.

The Florida Library Youth Program’s (FLYP) goal is to encourage children, young adults and families to use their local public library for both educational and recreational purposes—during the summer and year-round. Summer activities are designed to engage readers through music, movement, visual arts and more. For specific activities, check with your local public library. According to Interim Secretary of State Dawn K. Roberts, “We work with public libraries to help them encourage all youth to become lifelong readers and library users.”

For more information on Lexile measures, and to search for books using “Find a Book,” visit www.Lexile.com. To borrow books found in “Find a Book”—and to participate in summer reading activities—use the WorldCat link in the book search or locate your nearest public library at www.flelibrary.org using the “Find A Library” search tool.

Just Read, Florida! is a statewide reading initiative that prioritizes reading in Florida's public schools and among all the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. Since its establishment in 2001, the percent of Florida public school students who are reading on grade level has increased by 14 percent. For more information on Just Read, Florida!, visit http://www.justreadflorida.com/.

Administered by the Department of State, the Florida Library Youth Program (FLYP) is a coordinated and collaborative effort between the Division of Library and Information Services and public libraries’ youth services staff. Now in its 42nd year, the program provides public libraries with summer reading support through training, publications and supplemental materials. Over 95 percent of public libraries in Florida participate in FLYP; the total attendance for the 2009 summer reading program held in public libraries was 829,806; the total number of programs provided by public libraries was 26,771. For more information on the Florida Library Youth Program, visit http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/youth.