Judge to read ‘Abe Lincoln’s Hat’ to local youth as part of ‘Judges Go to School Day’

In conjunction with the February celebration of the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, Judge Chantelle Porter of Addison 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 Porter will deliver the program on:

• Monday, Feb. 12, at Stone Elementary School in Addison;

• Thursday, March 7, at Glenside Public Library in Glendale Heights;

• Wednesday, March 13, at Addison Public Library.

A project of the Illinois Judges Association, the reading program is aimed at children in kindergarten to fourth grade to encourage reading appreciation, value, and enjoyment.

Judges dressed in 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 Hon. Mary Schostok, a justice in the Appellate Court, 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 that we hope will inspire young students to appreciate the value of books as they learn a little about history and our justice system directly from a sitting judge.”

Surveys by the Annie E. Casey Foundation have found that many fourth-graders from low-income families do not read at grade level. 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 checkbooks inside his trademark top hat.

The project is the latest in a series of community programs undertaken by the Illinois Judges Association, including the IJA’s Page It Forward reading and tutoring program.

Other IJA programs are “Courtroom in the Classroom,” a presentation that celebrates the U.S. Constitution; “7 Reasons to Leave the Party,” covering the legal and personal consequences of drinking and driving, taking drugs, and engaging in other unhealthy behaviors; “Worries of the World Wide Web”, a program created to address the increasing problem of cyberbullying, electronic harassment, and sexting/pornography and “The Courts and You: Your Rights When You Snap School’ a presentation that provides civics information about the judiciary and how it effects the students in the classroom.

Information on these programs can be found on the IJA website at

The Illinois Judges Association is a membership organization of 1,250 active and retired judges whose purpose is to foster public confidence in the independence of the judiciary, provide services and education to its members, and provide information about court operations to the public. Funding for the books was made possible by a grant from the Illinois Judges Foundation.

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