Florida Governor Jeb Bush has made improving literacy one of the key initiatives of his administration. The state, which ranked 43rd in the U.S. in reading proficiency in the Measuring Up 2000 study from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, is expending huge efforts to encourage K-12 students as well as adults to improve their reading ability.
Today those efforts received a boost with announcement by Follett Software Company that the company's Find-A-Book™ data enhancement service has been incorporated into the SUNLINK union catalog. SUNLINK is a shared database of materials in Florida's K-12 library media centers designed to promote resource sharing among the state's public schools.
Government and education leaders realize that one of the keys to improving literacy is matching readers with materials that reflect their reading ability and interests. Find-A-Book allows students to search for titles appropriate to their reading and interest levels, encouraging them to read which will ultimately improve student achievement. Approximately 34 percent of SUNLINK's 1.2 million records now contain information about reading and interest levels, including those for the popular Accelerated Reader® and Reading Counts!® programs, and Lexile Measures.
“School library media centers support the curriculum, and SUNLINK is there to support media centers,” says Dr. Donna Baumbach, Director of the Florida SUNLINK Project. “All Florida schools are striving to improve students' reading abilities and many schools are using reading incentive programs and Lexiles to help. Adding Find-A-Book data to SUNLINK makes it easier for students to select books and topics they like at reading and interest levels appropriate for them. We believe that by using SUNLINK's “Reading Express Service” they'll take more interest in reading, read more books, and ultimately improve their reading and comprehension skills.”
Once Find-A-Book data is added to the records, SUNLINK allows students and teachers to search not only by reading level, interest level and reading program features, but by title, author, subject, format, language, date, location and keyword. It provides information about the school(s) and district(s) holding the item and the call number. Students and teachers may then contact their media specialist to borrow the book from another member's library through SUNLINK's established interlibrary loan protocols.
“Literacy is one of the most important issues in education today,” says Tom Schenck, President of Follett Software. “Whether you're talking about traditional books or data on the Internet, the ability to read is one of the cornerstones of acquiring knowledge and functioning in today's society. We are proud that Find-A-Book has been selected to further the State of Florida's goals in this area, and that we're making a difference in the lives of their students.”
About Follett Software Company
Since 1985, Follett Software Company has provided school, public and special libraries with leading-edge library automation, Internet and curriculum resource software and services. Its Circulation Plus software, with more than 30,000 installations worldwide, is the number one selling library automation system in the K-12 marketplace. The company also has the largest base of installed Windows customers, with 15,000 users. Follett Software Company is a division of Follett Corporation, and is headquartered in McHenry, IL. In 1999, the company was ranked among the top ten largest software companies in Chicago. For additional information, call (800) 323-3397 or go to www.fsc.follett.com.