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Commissioner Corcoran Releases New Back-to-School Reading List

August 14, 2019

FDOE Press Office

Commissioner Corcoran Releases New Back-to-School Reading List
~ Over 100 Books Make Up the Best Student Reading List in the Nation ~

Tallahassee, Fla., August 14, 2019 – Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran launched a new back-to-school reading list of his and Florida’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham’s favorite reads for students and teachers to consider in the upcoming school year. The list is comprised of top-of-the-line literary recommendations, with world-renowned titles from experts that makes it the best reading list in the nation. Highlighting rich historical nonfiction, classical and popular literature, and thought-provoking Florida-based works, the list has been carefully curated to have all students vying to dive into books this school year.

Building upon the new back-to-school reading list, Florida’s struggling readers in grades 3 through 5 can take full advantage of Reading Scholarship Accounts, which were funded for a second year by the Florida Legislature at the recommendation of Governor Ron DeSantis.More than 5,600 students utilized reading scholarship accounts during the 2018-2019 school year, and the budget appropriated $7.6 million for scholarships up to $500 per student for the 2019-2020 school year.

“My favorite part about this reading list is that it includes several great works that deal with questions of morality, character building and philosophy that will help young children and adult learners grapple with some of life’s challenges in all chapters of life,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Each of the powerful stories on this list will stretch the reader’s mind and are books that they won’t be able to put down.”

Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham added, “The ENJOYMENT of reading is not only FUNdamental to ALL learning, but also an essential part of elevating our students and community to open new doors, dream bigger dreams and achieve the impossible!”

This year, the goal is to expose children to the best books published – to take them on a voyage of discovery and make them enthusiastic readers. These titles have stood the test of time and possess spectacular substance that entertain readers with every word.

While students enjoy these content-rich books, they will also learn better grammar, improve their reading skills, gain cultural knowledge and be exposed to complex subjects that will prepare them for the school year to come as well as life ahead.

“Just having a reading list is crucial! A reading list makes a statement. It is really important that kids are reading the same thing – especially in English class. This builds a common school culture and promotes a shared history – an inheritance for all Americans and Floridians.” said Dr. Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English, Emory University.

Research shows children who continue reading gain an additional month or more of progress in a calendar year. By reading 20 minutes a day, students improve their literacy competency and score higher on reading assessments annually. On average, a student who reads more than 20 minutes per day scores in the 90th percentile on reading assessments.

State Board of Education Chair Andy Tuck said, “Literacy is a gateway to success in all facets of life – school, career, family and the ability to advocate for oneself. Florida has become the education state, especially when it comes to early literacy, yet we cannot rest on the success of yesterday because there are still children falling behind. Our new back-to-school reading list and reading scholarship accounts are two pillars of ensuring that we never take a day off in our efforts to increase literacy in Florida.”

Click here learn more about Reading Scholarship Accounts. To access FDOE’s suggested back-to-school reading list, click here.

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