January 27, 2020
In conjunction with the February celebration of the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, Associate Judge Clayton Lindsey of the 15th Judicial Circuit will be among the many Illinois judges to deliver a program to grade school students based on the popular children's book by Martha Brenner, Abe Lincoln's Hat. Judge Lindsey will deliver the program to a first-grade class at Mary Morgan Elementary School in Byron, Illinois on February 12, 2020.
The project is part of the Illinois Judges Association (IJA) Page It Forward program, which is designed to encourage the appreciation, value, and enjoyment of reading for children in grades K-4. Judges dressed in their black robes will make classroom appearances, read the book and discuss its intersection with history and the law. The book will be donated to the school library.
"Too many school children are not reading at grade level," said Appellate Justice Mary Schostok of the Second District and former president of the Illinois Judges Association. "This reading deficiency affects student learning and contributes to the high school dropout rate. Our reading project is one small step which we hope will inspire young students to appreciate the value of books as they learn a little about history and our system of justice directly from a sitting judge."
Surveys by the Annie E. Casey Foundation have found that a significant percentage of fourth-graders from low-income families are not reading at grade level. Further, children who are proficient readers by the end of third grade have a greater chance to graduate from high school and become economically self-sufficient adults.
Abe Lincoln's Hat,an illustrated account of the adventures of our nation's 16th President, reveals the secrets he stored in his tall, black hat. The book portrays Lincoln as an absent-minded frontier lawyer who nudged his memory by sticking letters, court notes, contracts, and even his checkbook inside his trademark top hat.
Page it Forward is the latest project in a series of community initiatives undertaken by the IJA. Other IJA programs include Courtroom in the Classroom, a presentation that celebrates the U.S. Constitution, and 7 Reasons to Leave the Party, covering the legal and personal consequences of drinking and driving, taking drugs, and engaging in other unhealthy behaviors.