Gale and Washington State Library Support Middle School Student Reading Development Through Large Print Books

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89 Middle Schools in Washington State Receive Curated Collection of Thorndike Press Large Print Books to Advance Literacy and Nurture Positive Reading Habits

Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, is helping the Washington State Library improve student literacy. The two organizations have partnered to deploy a special collection of 30 large print books to 89 middle school libraries across Washington state. Now reluctant and struggling readers have access to a valuable literacy intervention resource that not only strengthens and develops literacy skills, but also supports the development of lifelong reading habits students need to become future-ready learners.

Research shows that large print text can improve reading confidence and skill level in students. A recent study conducted by Project Tomorrow®, an education nonprofit, indicates that students in grades 3-12 who read large print books developed stronger reading skills, felt more comfortable reading and adopted new, positive reading mindsets.

“Reading is so important for overall learning and development. Our mission is to connect Washington through the power of libraries while building strong and informed communities, and reading accessibility is key to making that happen,” said Cindy Aden, Washington State Librarian. “We know that middle school can be a time when students’ reading habits may slow down and providing large print materials is one more way for school libraries to make sure their collections are accessible to all readers.”

Thorndike Press large print books are similar in size and have the same cover art as the original edition. By using a 16-point font on thinner, higher quality paper and laying out the text to maximize the use of white space, the books reduce eyestrain and increase readability.

The large print collection was funded by a grant program from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). All middle schools in Washington were eligible and invited to apply to receive the collection. Washington State Library selected Thorndike Press as a partner due to its broad selection of young adult titles, similar look to standard print editions and affordable pricing. Front Desk, The Stars Beneath our Feet, Dragon Pearl, On the Come Up and Puddin’ are among the 30 titles chosen by Washington State Library.

Early reactions from grant recipients include:

“We have a lot of students whose reading levels are well below middle school. Having large print books helps them access reading and books they generally are too afraid to try because of how long they are. With the larger font, they feel they can have a better chance at reading the book, don’t lose their place, and causes less frustration. The collection of books also gave them great variety for free choice.” –Middle School Librarian in Vancouver, WA

“Several students have told me they really love the large print books because a larger font makes it ‘easier to read.’ I have no doubt, in the short time they've been available to students, they will continue to be popular. I have duplicate copies of several of these titles and when given a choice of format, I'm noticing that students actually prefer the large print.” –Middle School Librarian in Lacey, WA

“I've had students choose to put a "regular" book back on the shelf so that they can take the large print edition instead.” –Middle School Librarian in Spokane Valley, WA

“Large print materials are more than books, they are a gateway for students to find their passion for reading,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale, a Cengage company. “The large print format is changing lives by providing readers with a literacy solution that works – I couldn’t be happier that we’re able to extend this opportunity to students across Washington state.”

About Washington State Library

The Washington State Library (WSL) is part of the Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Connecting Washington through the power of libraries, WSL seeks to build prosperous and informed communities by providing technology, access to information, and resources to its patrons. The Library connects Washingtonians to their history, employing digital initiatives and other preservation strategies to tell the stories of local communities and to celebrate our common heritage. In addition, WSL provides important resources for professional skills building and helps foster civic engagement by empowering state legislators and their staff, state agencies, and citizens with historical knowledge and research tools to make informed decisions.

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About Thorndike Press

As the leading large print publisher, Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, helps readers of all ages enjoy books. Publishing unabridged reprints in large print format for middle grade and young adult readers started in 1999 and our catalog of more than 400 titles grows monthly with high-interest fiction and nonfiction books, including contemporary classics, award-winners and bestsellers. Our commitment to producing high quality, 100% guaranteed large print books supports young readers as they develop the skills necessary to become successful, confident, lifelong readers.

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About Cengage and Gale

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when, and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.

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