041113br0550The month of March marked the launch of a new initiative of the Illinois Reading Council (IRC).  Illinois Reads! is being hailed as “the first ever statewide literacy program spanning all generations.”

While literacy is something that many of us take for granted, the World Literacy Foundation suggests that more than 796 million people worldwide have severely limited reading and writing abilities. Nearly 4 million of them are from right here in Illinoisans. Illinois Reads! is working to change that.

“As a former educator, I understand as well as anyone, the benefits of enthusiasm for reading at an early age and the lifelong benefits that literacy provides,” Sen. Bertino-Tarrant said. 

The Illinois Reads! project encourages Illinoisans to read books by Illinois authors. The Council has chosen books written solely by Illinois authors who they believe will truly engage the interests of citizens throughout Illinois. The books are categorized by age group and offer selections for toddlers all the way to seniors. Additionally, the Illinois Reads! website offers a wealth of background information on the annual book selections including author interviews, book reviews, book trailers, art work, webinars, virtual community conversations, virtual book clubs and other interesting features.

“I applaud the Illinois Reading Council for instituting a program that promotes literacy, as well as highlights our great state and the many amazing authors who are from here,” Bertino-Tarrant continued.

Members of the IRC are currently working to feature this year’s selection of books in classrooms, public health facilities, public and school libraries, and bookstores.

For more information on the Illinois Reads! program, please visit www.illinoisreads.org.

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