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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ

Contact: Anna Farneski

RELEASE: September 11, 2003

NJDOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere
participates in Governor's Reading Coach Program
at Newark's award-winning First Avenue School


(Newark) - As part of Governor McGreevey’s “Better Schools for a Better Tomorrow” program, NJDOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere spent time on Wednesday, Sept. 10, reading to first graders at Newark’s First Avenue School. The stories included “The Stray Dog” and “The Little Squeegy Bug.”

“I’d like to thank Mrs. Ferrao’s class for making me feel so welcome,” said Lettiere. “Reading to our children and encouraging them to read is one of the most important things we can do as parents and adults.”

Governor McGreevey has been targeting early literacy throughout his administration. Research shows that only 9% of children who are unable to read by the end of third grade, will ever truly become literate. Therefore, the Governor has instituted an aggressive early literacy program, focused around providing highly-trained Reading Coaches.

The basic function of Reading Coaches is to help teachers enhance and refine their skills as they teach young children to become proficient readers and writers. The program recruits and trains reading coaches who work with local staff to implement proven research-based best practices for the instruction of reading. The practices were defined by the Early Literacy Tack Force, co-chaired by national literacy expert Dr. Dorothy Strickland of Rutgers University and Dr. Robert Copeland, superintendent of Piscataway Schools.

Commissioner Lettiere was one of several State Commissioners who spent time as a reading coach statewide.

Other initiatives of the “Better Schools for a Better Tomorrow” program include teacher reforms and school construction.

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