Boundless Readers™ Awards 225 Chicago Public School Teachers 2011-2012 Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards

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Award provides teachers with hundreds of hours of literacy-based professional development; books for classroom libraries

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“Boundless Readers teachers see their students achieve more positive attitudes toward reading, a deeper comprehension of texts, and an improved expression of ideas,” said Mary Hicks, Executive Director of Boundless Readers.

Thousands of Chicago public schoolchildren will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the 225 Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards recently presented to teachers from 61 schools throughout the city.

Boundless Readers™, the leading provider of literacy-based professional development resources and programs to Chicago Public Schools, recently selected 225 pre-K through 8th-grade teachers to receive the prestigious professional development award.

The award allows for each teacher recipient to choose from more than 600 hours of professional development workshops about literacy to fulfill Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards program requirements. The broad choice allows teachers to select workshops that are relevant to their professional needs. Each teacher also participates in sessions that focus on teacher as reader. Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards programming includes summer workshops, monthly study groups, teacher book discussion groups, and ongoing support from Boundless Readers.

Teachers also receive $500-$850 worth of new children’s books for their classroom libraries, and are able to select the books that best meet their students’ interests and needs. Each teacher is able to spend at least four hours in the Rochelle Lee Review Library evaluating books prior to placing their orders.

The Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards are based on what Boundless Readers considers the essentials to developing children’s reading ability, habits, and independence: classroom libraries of high quality, relevant books; the time to read and be read to every day; and the opportunity to take books home. Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards teachers agree to read aloud to their classes for 20 minutes each day, and to provide another 20 minutes for independent reading to foster development of regular reading practices among their students. Students have daily access to their classroom libraries so they can choose the books they want to read.

More than 7,500 professional development awards have been issued since Boundless Readers began its Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards program in 1989, benefiting countless elementary and middle school students throughout the Chicago Public School system.

“The students are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards,” said Mary Hicks, Executive Director of Boundless Readers. “Boundless Readers teachers see their students achieve more positive attitudes toward reading, a deeper comprehension of texts, and an improved expression of ideas. These are all critical skills in becoming a successful reader for life,” she adds.

In a speech to attendees, Carol Collier, a parent from Nettelhorst School, told Rochelle Lee Teacher Award winners that she has witnessed a significant change in her daughter’s desire to read, and attributed it to her many Boundless Readers teachers at Nettelhorst. “I want you to know that parents appreciate what you are doing. On behalf of the parents of the all the students you have taught to read, or are going to teach how to read, thank you. And, thank you for helping our children develop a love of reading. I encourage you to help parents understand what they, too, can do to help their children develop the love of reading,” she said.

Boundless Readers will begin accepting teacher applications for its 2012-2013 Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards program in December 2011, at which time they’ll be available for downloading at http://www.boundlessreaders.org/AppsMaterials.html. Teachers with questions about the Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards should contact Boundless Readers at 773.989.8582 or send an email to programs(at)boundlessreaders(dot)org.

About Boundless Readers

Chicago-based Boundless Readers, formerly called the Rochelle Lee Fund, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more than 20 years, Boundless Readers has dedicated itself to unleashing the power of reading in children. By building the capacity of Chicago public schools and teachers through its professional development programs and resources, Boundless Readers transforms students into passionate lifelong readers, learners, and thinkers. For more information about Boundless Readers, visit http://www.boundlessreaders.org.

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