Guest post by Stuart Greenberg, Just Read, Florida! executive director
School may be out, but literacy is always in. Here at the Florida Department of Education, we continue to focus our energy on reading and literacy. Studies show that when students continue reading during the summer, they are able to maintain their academic focus when school starts back up in the fall.
To help us with our campaign of encouraging reading and literacy in all that we do, we rely on great literacy leaders throughout our state. Take for instance Lora McCalister-Cruel, a literacy coach at A. Crawford Mosley High School in Bay County, who was named as one of five finalist to compete for the 2012 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award. Her exceptional work inBayCounty has undoubtedly helped her students achieve at higher levels than ever before – and she makes it fun.
Another exceptional leader who has imparted her passion for all things literature is the state’s First Lady – Mrs. Ann Scott. With her support, the Department, along with many other literacy support organizations have been able to tout the wonderful work being done in Florida to ensure our students are reading and learning.
Just a few weeks ago Mrs. Scott kicked off her Summer Literacy Adventure, a program that encourages students to pledge to read and visit their local public libraries. Students interested in participating in the Summer Literacy Adventure can visit the Just Read, Florida! website to take the pledge. The higher the percentage of students taking the pledge at a school the higher their chances are of receiving a special visit from Mrs. Scott and earning a one-day pass for students and faculty to any Florida State Park.
There are tons of resources available to help you find a great book or to encourage more reading in everyday life. Check out some of the tools below:
- Find-A-Book, Florida: This is a free online tool that allows students to search for books based on their reading ability and interests. The tool, offered courtesy of MetaMetrics, uses Lexile® measures, a widely adopted reading metric that can guide a reader to an appropriate level book.
- Recommended Summer Reading List: The DOE’s Just Read, Florida! Office offers a Recommended Summer Reading List and other valuable reading and literacy resources for students and families.
- Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida: This is still a ways off, but every year the Department celebrates literacy in January. Next year’s dates are Jan. 23-27, 2012. More info will be available soon on the website.
- Literacy League: This podcast project is designed to make reading interactive and fun for Florida’s middle school students. The club is open to all students in grades 6-8 as a way to support and encourage a love of reading by giving students an opportunity to connect with their favorite authors. Students submit questions, which are answered via podcast by the author. Visit the website for past podcast recordings and upcoming book selections.