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Manny Diaz, Jr. Launches the Commissioner’s Book of the Month

March 15, 2023

FDOE Press Office

Manny Diaz, Jr. Launches the Commissioner’s Book of the Month

~ Commissioner Diaz will recommend four books each month, one per selected grade range ~

Tallahassee, Fla., March 15, 2023 – Today, Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. launched the Commissioner’s Book of the Month, a monthly reading challenge to promote literacy and reading engagement in K-12 schools. Each month, Commissioner Diaz will highlight four recommended books – one per selected grade range.

“The Commissioner’s Book of the Month will be an opportunity to highlight authors and titles, offering students rewarding opportunities for classroom and at-home discussion,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “This new initiative will add to Florida’s ever-present focus on providing students access to challenging books that increase critical thinking skills and deepen understanding.”

The Commissioner’s recommendations for March 2023 are:

  • Grades K-2 – “The Lion and the Mouse,” by Aesop
  • Grades 3-5 – “Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” by Jonah Winter
  • Grades 6-8 – “Lifeboat 12,” by Susan Hood
  • Grades 9-12 – “The Raft,” by S.A. Bodeen

Literacy skills developed during formative years are essential for students to succeed both academically and in life, and reading comprehension develops as students engage with interesting and meaningful books. Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida has championed literacy achievement and made record investments in innovative programs aimed to promote grade-level reading, including:

  • Securing more than $202 million in literacy-based initiatives in the 2022-2023 Freedom First Budget.
  • Observing the 15th annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida – an annual weeklong event designed to raise awareness about the importance of reading and to inspire students and families to make reading part of their daily routines.
  • Signing the New Worlds Reading Initiative into law in June 2021, which created Florida’s first statewide book distribution program.
  • Initiating the revision and implementation of the B.E.S.T. Standards for English Language Arts in 2020, which included a 350-book recommended reading list to serve as a sample text guide for educators to incorporate into their teaching.

The selections, along with guiding questions for educators and parents, can be found each month on the Commissioner’s Book of the Month page of the FDOE website.

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