Page 1

February 2014

Volume 37, Number 3 In This Issue:

Greetings Illinois Reading Council Members,

BOARD BRIEFS President’s Column IRA State Coordinator

1 2-3

IRC CONFERENCE 2014 Conference App 2014 Legislator of the Year IRC Awards and Grants Future IRC Conferences

4, 20 6 7 20

FORMS March 2014 Conference Registration October 2014 Conference Program Proposal IRC Shirt Order Form FEATURES SRL’s 38th Day of Reading Book Review The Real World of Writing Family Literacy Night Google Lit Trips Tech Tip ILLC’s 40th Annual Young Authors Conference Book-A-Member Campaign Illinois Reads Cool Studies

5 8-10 17

3 11 12-13 14 15 15 15 16 18-19

2014 IRC Conference March 13-15, 2014

Registration and Housing is available now!

You are amazing! As I travel across the state to attend local council meetings, I am amazed by your involvement in IRC activities after a long and challenging day of instruction. I am amazed by the attendance at Saturday learning events. While this goes unnoticed by many taxpayers and the media, IRC the Executive Board recognizes and applauds the President efforts of local council leaders to plan and present, Tammy Potts and lauds the efforts of educators who manage to squeeze professional learning into busy professional and personal lives. There are multiple benefits to participating in local council events: professional development, networking and just plain ol’ chatting. It is refreshing to know that there are others who share our same joys and concerns. It is the best kind of professional support! Here are just a few of what IRC and your local councils have to offer: Be sure to take some time with the Illinois Reading Council Journals when they arrive. There will be something to add to your professional knowledge and add to your repertoire. Professional articles, Teaching Tips, interesting author interviews, lists of great books for you and your students…it is a treasure trove! IRC’s monthly iCommunicate is designed to offer a timely article or two on an interesting and critical topic. We are committed to keeping you informed. And we are committed to not filling up your in-box! The annual IRC Conference is considered to be THE premier literacy conference in the country. This year's Conference Chair, Cindy Gerwin, has planned another incredible event for you. Be sure and join us to welcome author James Paterson to Illinois! He is just one of many great speakers and standout authors who are part of this year’s conference. IRC also offers Professional Support from our incredible office staff: Carrie Sheridan, Karen Kortkamp, and Kristin Kreckman.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact our office. Their customer service is amazing (just like YOU!)

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator Welcome to 2014. And Community Engagement (Sponsorships, Community what a beginning it Service & International Projects) has been with monster This award showcases the relationships built within storms hurling their the State/Province with local businesses, schools, and/ power across Illinois or other nonprofit agencies to promote their literacy bringing wind, snow initiatives in their communities. The winner of this and cold. We have award will have documented evidence of success, while survived, a bit battered involving the community to support council activities. IRA but with new courage, Co-chairs: Mal Keenan & Carol Owles State Coordinator strength and resolve. Email: internationalprojects@illinoisreadingcouncil. Roberta Sejnost And it is just those org traits that makes our local councils strong. The first part of our 2013Public Awareness (Advocacy) 2014 council year has been outstanding with terrific This award signifies the State/Provincial Councils programs, and one of the things that has made it a ability to effectively educate the general public and stellar year is all the wonderful Illinois Reads programs policy makers within the State/Province as well as that each and every one of our 32 councils has held. bring attention to larger literacy issues. The winner of Did you know you can share what the award will have clearly shared your councils and the students of their efforts publicly (news/press “And now we your council members have done coverage is preferred) as well as to celebrate Illinois Reads? Just brought awareness to issues that welcome the new log on to http://www.illinoisreads. affect literacy within the State/ year, full of things org/shareideascontributions.html Province and promotes the council to publicize what your council has in a positive light. that have never accomplished as well as learn what Chair: Mike Ellerman other councils have done. Email: legislativecommittee@ been.” New IRA Awards -Rainer Maria Rilke We know the most effective councils IRA Provides Digital Literacy encourage members to work together Information toward shared goals, and here is IRA provides many resources to an opportunity to help IRC win some prestigious IRA help you keep councils rolling along smoothly. Be awards. This year IRA is offering the opportunity for sure to check out the December 2013/January 2014 IRC to submit posters during the Poster Sessions at issue of Reading Today ( the IRA conference in May on the topics listed below. AccessFor/Members-only/reading-today) featuring We have committees working on this, but it would Digital Literacies resources such as: be a great help if your councils can provide any news articles, flyers, or pictures that could be used in these • Historical Argument Using Technology poster sessions. The parameters are listed below as well • ReadWriteThink Alphabet Interactive as the emails of the committee chairs. Please share the • Collaborating to Infuse Curriculum with New Media wonderful things your councils do with our Normal office • Driving Literacy Engagement with QR Codes so we can showcase them during these Poster Sessions. • Visualizing Text with Infographics • Formula for Enhancing Online Inquiry Skills Teacher Empowerment (Professional Development) • C o l l a b o r a t i v e Wr i t i n g P l a t f o r m D r i v e s This award embodies the work councils do to promote Achievement professional development and growth opportunities • Digital Options for Self-Directed Professional for educators within their state. The winner of this Learning award will have developed and implemented high • Children’s Book Apps Bring Stories to Life quality professional development for educators with documented measures of success. Co-chairs: Gail Huizinga and Deb Hays Continued on page 3 Email:


February 2014

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator IRA State Coordinator continued from page 2 Membership Newsflash Good News: IRA is now offering a $10 council member discount on new and renewing basic IRA memberships. Anyone who is an active council member at the state/ provincial or local/student/special interest council level is eligible to receive this offer. Special membership forms will be available. Ask for them at the next Board Meeting and at the IRC conference in March. Yours in Council Growth,




Bobbie Sejnost Roberta L. Sejnost IRA State Coordinator



0$5,66$0(<(5 <RXQJ$GXOW1RYHOLVW


'5-$1(7$//(1 MISSION The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to educators as they promote and teach lifelong literacy.



Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761 Phone: 888-454-1341 Fax: 309-454-3512 E-Mail: Website: Ning: â&#x20AC;&#x192;â&#x20AC;&#x192; Join us on Facebook!

February 2014




The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

2014 Illinois Reading Council Conference By Cindy Gerwin, 2014 Conference Chair

The 2014 Conference theme “Building Bridges to Literacy” is about building bridges to close the gaps: between literacy teachers and content area teachers, between literature and non-fiction, between young and old. The 2014 Conference also marks the building of a new bridge into technology. The conference will feature, through Guidebook, a new conference app for your smart phone, tablet or computer. Some of the conference app features are: Up-to-Date Session Schedules The entire program/schedule is right on your phone or tablet. Attendees can select sessions to create a personalized itinerary with reminders. Speaker Listings Bios and pictures for featured speakers are listed with session links. Attendees can search sessions by speaker name, topic, grade level, content area and more. Exhibitor Listings A searchable list of exhibitors includes descriptions, booths, locations and exhibit hall classroom sessions. Interactive Maps and Floor Plans Interactive maps make navigating the conference much easier, which means attendees can create a visual link between locations on their personalized schedule and the corresponding location on a floor plan or map. Maps also provide attendees with information on local sites. Shared Photo Albums Attendees can take photos and instantly upload to create a collective photo album. Get Social All of the social buzz surrounding the conference on Twitter and Facebook is collected in one place for easy browsing and participation. Post Tweets and Facebook updates right from the app! To-Do List An interactive to-do list allows attendees to jot down all of the things they don’t want to miss and check them off upon completion. With one touch, they can add a speaker, exhibitor or event to a list. Instant Conference Feedback Share positive feedback or concerns related to a speaker, exhibitor or event in the moment. Push Messaging/Alerts Attendees can receive push messages/alerts for giveaways, special events, room changes or speaker cancellations.


IRC has gone mobile! The APP is available now and features up-to-date session schedules, speaker listings, an itinerary planner, interactive maps and floor plans, exhibitor listing, Scavenger QR Code Game, and more. On your smart phone or tablet, download the FREE Guidebook App from the Apple Store or Android Marketplace. Then, search for the March 2014 Illinois Reading Council Conference Guide. Or, follow this link to the guide at You will need to create an account and sign in. You can also join IRC on Face Book and Twitter at @ILReadCouncil #IRC2014!

February 2014

2014 IRC Conference Registration Form

Return this form with payment to: Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761 Or fax to: (309) 454-3512 Or register online at

March 13-15, 2014 Springfield, Illinois

ONE NAME ON EACH FORM Please print or type. Form may be reproduced.

Name (Last)________________________________________ (First)____________________________________________________ School/Business_____________________________________ City_____________________________________________________ Home Address_______________________________________________________________ State____________ Zip____________ Telephone (

) _______________________________ Email ___________________________________________________

Position/Grade Level? ________________

Presenting at Conference? ___Yes ___ No

Are you an IRA member? ___Yes ___ No

REGISTRATION (check one) includes sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On or Before February 1, 2014 After February 1, 2014 Registration for IRC Member: ____Current IRC Member (Membership Number: ________________________) . . . . . . . . $165 $190 ____Retiree (Member) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 $50 ____Preservice Teacher with ID (Member) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 $50 Combined Registration & Membership–Savings of $5 ____Select Council from Membership Form (Council Name: ____________________) . . . $205 $230 Registration for Non-Member ____Non-Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $240 $265 ____Retiree (Non-Member) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $50 $75 ____Preservice Teacher with ID (Non-Member) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $50 $75 MEALS Meals are optional. Check choice of menu. Include payment with registration. ____Thursday Breakfast (A. Lincoln) . . . Carmen Agra Deedy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18 _____Scrambled Eggs & Sausage _____Vegetarian ____Thursday Luncheon (A. Lincoln) . . . Stephanie Harvey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22

_____Pan Seared Chicken Parmesan

_____Angel Hair Pasta Primavera

_____Caribbean Jerk Spiced Chicken Kabobs

_____Stuffed Pork Loin

$23 $27

____Thursday Luncheon (Hilton) . . . Mary Pope Osborne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22


____Thursday Prairie State Award Banquet (A. Lincoln) . . . Jon Waterhouse . . . . . . . . . $30


____Friday Breakfast (A. Lincoln) . . . Dan Gutman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18


____Friday Luncheon (A. Lincoln) . . . Debbie Diller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22


____Friday Luncheon (Hilton) . . . Eric Litwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22


____Friday Banquet (Hilton) . . . James Patterson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30



_____Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

_____Cinnamon French Toast _____Vegetarian

_____Cheese Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce (Sundried Tomatoes for Garnish)

_____Pesto Chicken Tortellini

____Friday Night Pizza Party for Preservice Teachers Only! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FREE FREE

_____Grilled Sirloin Steak

_____Pesto Portobello Mushroom Tortellini


_____Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon

____Friday Night Event (Lincoln) . . . Heard It Through the Grapevine Book Chat . . . . . . $15 $20 ____Saturday Breakfast (A. Lincoln) . . . Nancie Atwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18 _____Eggs Benedict _____Three Cheese & Asparagus Omelet ____Saturday Author Luncheon (Hilton) . . . Jon Scieszka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25

_____Spicy Sweet BBQ Pork Chops

METHOD OF PAYMENT (Sorry, NO Purchase Orders accepted!)

Check (payable to IRC)







Credit Card Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover) Signature ________________________________________ Expiration Date



Special Accommodations – Individuals who need special accommodations must make specific requests in writing to the IRC office at least three weeks prior to the conference. Cancellation/Refund Policy – Requests must be made in writing by March 1, 2014. Please see the complete policy under General Conference Information or at the IRC Website. Unless notified in writing, this registration constitutes an agreement that the registrant’s image, likeness, and appearance can be used in photographs of such events and activities.

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Illinois Reading Council 2014 Legislator of the Year Award Senator Don Harmon By Kathy Merz, Helen Bryant & Mike Ellerman, Legislative Committee

We are proud to announce the 2014 Illinois Reading Council Legislator of the Year Award goes to Senator Don Harmon. In the Senate, Mr. Harmon is an active member in his committee work advocating early learning as he makes ongoing recommendations and policies supporting the education of children from birth to age five. He is the chief sponsor of GA93 SB565. He is currently co-sponsor of GA94 SB1497 committee, Preschool for ALL and is a supporter for funding education for the exceptional children. This support not only includes that for children with disabilities, but also those children at the opposite end of the spectrum. Senator Harmon is not just an active supporter of education, he takes the role of a literacy advocate both within and beyond our great state of Illinois. He is a strong supporter of Reach Out and Read, which is a nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide. He has been awarded Illinois Early Learning Leader, in 2006, from the joint Action for Children, Ounce of Prevention as well as the UCAN Building Future Leaders Award 2009, from Wonder Works Children First award. Finally, Senator Harmon connects to our schools as a yearly Reader of the Day. Senator Harmon continues to visit classrooms at O.W. Holmes Elementary School each year, exciting the students with favorite read-a-louds. Senator Harmon was nominated by Anne M. Hufnus and others in the West Suburban Reading Council, who are in Senator Harmonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s District. 6

Senator Don Harmon (D) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 39th District

Years served: 2003 - Present Committee assignments: Senate Committee of the Whole; Judiciary Civil Law (Vice-Chairperson); Revenue (Chairperson); Environment and Energy; Judiciary Criminal Law; Subcommittee for Global Warming & Energy (SubChairperson); Special Committee for Impeachment Procedure. Biography: Attorney; born 1966, in Oak Park; graduated St. Ignatius High School; B.A., Knox College; J.D. and M.B.A., University of Chicago; married (wife, Teresa), has three children: Don, Frances, and Margaret. February 2014

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

IRA Exemplary Reading Program Award Thursday Breakfast at the Lincoln Ballroom with Carmen Agra Deedy Obama Literacy Fund Award Nicole Moss Thursday Lunch at the Lincoln Ballroom with Stephanie Harvey Pamela J. Farris Rural Literacy Award Lisa Homerding Thursday Lunch at the Lincoln Ballroom with Stephanie Harvey Prairie State Award for Exellence in Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Writing Andrea Beaty Thursday PSA Banquet at the Lincoln Ballroom with Jon Waterhouse Outstanding Reading Educator of the Year Award PreK-5: Dylan Teut 6-12: Anieta Trame College Instructor: Heather Harder Friday Lunch at the Lincoln Ballroom with Debbie Diller Monarch Award Rebecca Caudill Award Abraham Lincoln Award The Bluestem Award Friday Lunch at the Hilton Ballroom with Eric Litwin Hall of Fame Award Becky Anderson Wilkins Friday Banquet at the Hilton Ballroom with James Patterson IRC Service Award Council of Excellence Award Tammy Potts Saturday Breakfast at the Lincoln Ballroom with Nancie Atwell


I l li

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Legislator of the Year Award Senator Don Harmon, 39th District Wednesday Welcome Reception at the Lincoln Ballroom



IRC Awards and Grants March 13-15, 2014


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elle n ce

All Illinois Reading Council Awards are determined by nomination. We strive to recognize those who go above and beyond to be advocates for literacy. Illinois Reading Council Grants are available for many international projects, special interest councils, and individuals who seek to promote literacy and improve both local and international societies. If you would like to nominate someone for any of the listed awards or would like to apply for any of our grants, please visit our website for more information on nomination guidelines and forms.,

Awards & Grants Link

Static Sticker Decal Contest Winner Saturday Author Luncheon at the Hilton Ballroom with Jon Scieszka

February 2014



F r u e its of Lite h t g n i t s e v r r acy a H Program Format Proposals are encouraged for small group sessions which will be scheduled for 60 minutes. A few proposals requesting double session will be considered. Criteria For Selection • Proposals that emphasize interaction across disciplines, interaction across roles, new issues or topics, innovative or novel ways of viewing traditional issues, topics, materials or methods and evidence of familiarity with current practice and/or research will be given priority. • Proposals that promote commercial materials or programs will not be accepted. • Proposals that contribute to the achievement of an overall program balance in the range of topics, the grade levels covered, and the professional and geographic distribution of the participants will be given priority. • Proposals must be legible and complete. The Program Committee reserves the right to disqualify incomplete or late proposals.

General Information • Teachers, researchers, librarians, administrators, and others interested in promoting reading and related literacy areas are encouraged to submit program proposals. • As a professional, nonprofit organization, the Illinois Reading Council is unable to provide honoraria to program participants or to reimburse for materials, travel, meals, or hotel expenses. • All presenters whose program proposals have been approved must pre-register and pay conference fees no later than the last day designated for pre-registration (September 1, 2014). If not, name and presentation may be removed from the final Conference program due to printing deadlines. • The person submitting the proposal must receive advance consent from each listed presentation associate. • Each presentation room will be equipped with either an overhead or LCD projector and screen. All other audiovisual equipment is the responsibility of the presenter(s). • Proposals must be submitted online at www. or postmarked no later than April 15, 2014. Each person submitting a proposal will be sent an acknowledgment by email when the proposal is received. Subsequent correspondence will also be sent by email. • All applicants will be notified of the Program Committee’s decisions by June 1, 2014. It is the responsibility of the person submitting the proposal to relay the committee’s decision to each presentation associate listed on the program. Individuals seeking conference information should contact: Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761 Phone: 309-454-1341 ▪ Email: Toll Free: 888-454-1341 ▪ Fax: 309-454-3512 Ning: or Submit Program Proposals Online at:


47th Illinois Reading Council Conference October 2-4, 2014 Please type or print all information.


PERSON SUBMITTING PROPOSAL Name (Last)___________________________________ (First)_________________________________________

Address_____________________________________________________________________________________ City________________________________________ State______________ Zip_______________________ Telephone: Work____________________________ Home________________________________________ Position and/or Title___________________________________________________________________________ School/District/Professional Affiliation____________________________________________________________ Work Address______________________________________ City___________________ State___________ Email______________________________________________ P L E A S E R E M E M B E R T H A T A L L




Please list the names, complete addresses (including zip code), telephone numbers, and institutional affiliations and addresses of the presentation associates. Please secure advance permission from each individual. A separate sheet with this information may be attached. Name (Last)____________________________________ (First)__________________________________________ School/District/Professional Affiliation____________________________________________________________ City__________________________________________ State______________ Zip_________________________ Phone______________________________________ Email________________________________________ Name (Last)___________________________________ (First)_________________________________________ School/District/Professional Affiliation____________________________________________________________ City__________________________________________ State______________ Zip_________________________ Phone______________________________________ Email________________________________________


STRAND NUMBER ________________________ All proposals should relate to one of the strands below:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Word Identification Comprehension Vocabulary Literacy Coaching Speaking and Listening Writing Technology in the Classroom Diversity (multicultural, gender issues, gifted, at-risk) Administration and Supervision of Reading Programs

10. Adolescent Literacy 11. RtI 12. English Language Learners 13. Standards (CCSS), Assessment, and Evaluation 14. Early Childhood and Emergent Literacy 15. Content Area and Disciplinary Literacy 16. Title I 17. Adult and Family Literacy 18. Library Instruction


SESSION LENGTH: Sessions will be 60 minutes in length. Presenters desiring more time may request a double session.


INTENDED AUDIENCE (Check each category that applies.) _______ Educators of Pre-Schoolers (PreK-K) _______ Educators of Special Needs Students _______ Educators of Primary Students (K-3) _______ Educators of Adults _______ Educators of Intermediate Students (4-6) _______ University Professors/Adjunct Instructors _______ Educators of Middle/Junior High Students (6-9) _______ Administrators _______ Educators of High School Students (9-12) _______ Librarians _______ Educators of English Language Learners _______ All


SPONSORSHIP: If a conference exhibitor is sponsoring the presentation, please indicate the name of the company.


AUDIO-VISUAL EQUIPMENT: Check AV preferences below. Most presentation rooms will be set theatre

_______ LCD Projector OR _______ Overhead Projector OR _______ No AV Needed _______ Internet Connection _______ Display Table _______ Classroom Style

Please remember that all sponsored presenter(s) must be registered through the exhibitor registration packet and that your session may not promote specific products or packaged programs.

style with either an overhead or LCD projector and screen. Other equipment must be supplied by the presenter.

VIII. DATE PREFERENCE: Please indicate ALL dates that will work for your presentation.

(Tables and Chairs)

_______ No Preference _______ Thursday _______ Friday _______ Saturday


TITLE OF PRESENTATION (as you wish it to appear in the program book; please be succinct)



Describe the content of the program in 20-35 words. The abstract must be clearly stated and reflect the actual presentation.

In accordance with IRA and IRC policy, program participants will not be reimbursed for any expenses by the Illinois Reading Council. I understand that presenters must pre-register for the conference by September 1, 2014. If not, names and presentation may be removed from the final IRC conference program due to printing deadlines. I also understand that only one projector and screen will be provided and that the printing of handouts is the responsibility of the presenters. Signature of Person Submitting Proposal Date



The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2014. Proposals may be submitted online at OR mailed (one copy of completed proposal, postmarked by the deadline) to: Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761

To help prevent scheduling conflicts, please identify all presenters listed in this proposal who are also included in other proposals. Name Person Submitting Other Proposal

____________________________________ ____________________________________

____________________________________ ____________________________________

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Educational Initiatives and Professional Development Committee Book Review

Reviewed by Felicia Frazier, Educational Initiatives and Professional Development Committee Title: Falling In Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts–and Life Author (s): Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts

Publisher: Heinemann Publishers, 2014,136 pp. ISBN: 978-0-325-05084-3 CCSS Standard Strands Addressed: R1

As the foreword by Donalyn Miller states, Falling in Love with Close Reading, “is a resource-rich book that includes lesson plans, guiding questions, relevant texts that relate to our students’ lives, and authentic examples that reveal students’ thinking and development.”

Finally, in each of the seven chapters of the book Lehman and Roberts present a central structure—a three step close reading ritual that “will lead to habits and then to independence in students”: 1) First read through lenses. Decide what you will focus on while reading and collect those details. 2) Next, use the lenses to find patterns. 3) Finally, use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text.

Both Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts’ backgrounds include serving as part of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and they offer a clear, fresh approach to close reading skills that students can use independently and with any text. This book can help teachers guide students to independence and support the transfer of analytical skills to media and their lives. Every chapter in Falling in Love with Close Reading has lessons organized across the following contexts: • A lesson centering around familiar media, from popular music to television shows • A main lesson analyzing one text type, informational or literature, and its connections to the Common Core State Standards • A variation on the main lesson for the other text type • Suggestions and extensions for ways to study the close reading skill in life, from the words students’ peers use to how they structure their personal time.

This book is replete with examples both from classrooms and the authors’ own experience as readers. Their process reminds us all that many texts, at many levels, are complex and worthy of close reads. The book reminds us that it is our job as educators to scaffold those readings as we invite our students to engage and fall in love with text.

These lessons are then repeated across a variety of close reading skills. The first three chapters are based on the fundamental skills of reading closely: text evidence, word choice and structure. Then the later chapters give suggestions on ways to combine these skills for more advanced study: point of view, argument and reading across texts. The last chapter offers ways to organize your instruction to meet the needs of students.

“Love brings us in close, leads us to study the details of a thing, and asks us to return again and again. These are the motivations and ideas that built this book.” -Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts February 2014


The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

The Real World of Writing By Ilyse Brainin

It’s February, and as I write this, I’m hoping the sun is out and Valentines and the love of literacy are on our minds. In another month we will gather together with our colleagues to love, learn and laugh at the annual IRC convention in Springfield. But for a moment, let’s go back in time to November. A time for family, parent and teacher conferences and a natural time for change. Illinois is a beautiful place to be in the fall, the earthy colors of the landscape begin to pop with explosions of vibrant orange, red and yellow. And then of course, we have the rain, which begins the change process. I like change, but not everyone does. This dislike is the bane of anything new, especially in education. Yet, I have always tried to find the familiarity within anything new, the roots from which it grew, while only the leaves were changing. On a stormy Saturday morning, just before the flood and big storms hit Illinois, I drove downtown to Andrew Jackson Language Academy, to learn more about the changes we are experiencing in the area of writing due to the Common Core State Standards. I joined over two hundred Chicago Public School teachers on a perfect morning to stay in bed. Yet here we were ready to learn. Jim Burnette of Grace Educational Resources, representatives of Heinemann Publishing, provided the event entitled, “Implementing the Units of Study, a K-5 Common Core Workshop Curriculum.” As I arrived and settled in, I noticed that most of the teachers were toting their Units of Study by Lucy Calkins (some purchased with their own money). The workshop specifically focused on opinion, informational and narrative writing for K-5. I attended Debra Gurvitz’s, Ed.D., session for 3rd-5th grade students.

director of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Lucy Calkins’ earliest mentor, Donald Graves, can be heard in her continued progressive approach to writing with children. “Children want to write.” is a mantra coined by Donald Graves and carried on, while deeply embedded in the Units of Study, written by Lucy Calkins. As all constructivists would agree, the approach celebrates the natural development of children as writers. As the workshop begins, I believe I can feel my heart slow down and my breathing regulate as I settled in to think about teaching in this natural, calm way. As Dr. Gurvitz moves deeper into the morning, you can almost feel the room relax as teachers begin to see that what can sometimes feel like a new way of teaching, is not necessarily new at all. Sometimes the change is just in the label or the packaging. As we began to talk at our tables, thoughts of the Common Core, assessing and other demands that loom on Monday morning, seem to all make more sense, as long as we expect our students to crawl before they walk.

“Children want to write.” -Donald Graves

Lucy Calkins’ work has always made so much sense to me. The workshop model is the thread of familiarity that brings the comfort one seeks when feeling anxious about change. I host a short celebration in my mind as I think about learning more about Lucy Calkins aligning the Common Core with Writers’ Workshop. The Lucyisms I know I am about to hear will be rooted in student voice and choice. As the visionary and founding 12

We are hooked and ready to think about “The Architecture of Effective Minilessons,” a great way to demonstrate to teachers that no matter what the CCSS calls for, a minilesson will always hover around 10 minutes. The lesson begins with a connection, which is also the teaching point. It connects thinking, ideas and strategies from previous lessons to this one. The connection will rally students for the lesson and allows them to understand how the writing lesson will fit into their real lives as writers. The connection might include an excerpt from student work or a short oral story. The connections are followed by the teaching, which is offered as a menu in which to choose the best method for delivery of the lesson. The choices for the teacher include: Demonstration, Guided Practice, Explanation with Example and Inquiry. This made me think about the consistency this type of teaching offers fragile learners or ELL students who need predictable teaching structures accompanied with Continued on page 13

February 2014

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator World of Writing continued from page 12

consistent language used by the teacher. Next, the teacher moves into an Active Engagement opportunity, allowing students a moment to use the language of the lesson, practice the skill or even better, talk with their writing partner to deepen their understanding of the lesson through the reiterated words of a peer. Lastly, the teacher “links” the minilesson to previously learned lessons, by providing actual examples. The link helps strengthen the goal of transference from previous lessons to this lesson, to habit of mind.

article, a speech, a poster? What a wonderful way to help students understand the choices they will face in the real world of writing.

Boot camp anyone? Boot camp is a method used to deliberately draw attention to a skill that needs memorable attention in order to learn it or correct it. For example, a third grade class that is completely confused about all of the rules that go into quote writing for character dialog, may need a few boot camp lessons. The idea is to get in, go deep into the teaching of the rules, celebrate and agree that whatever it is that you are about to learn is tricky, hard to remember or Soon the question of conferencing came up and just boring–but needs to be learned, so let us figure out Dr. Gurvitz responded by taking how it can be done. Lucy Calkins us beyond, “What is the rest of used to call this “drill and kill” the class doing?” Instead, she because we drilled until the topic “All conferences offered us options such as small was killed, but not necessarily group conferences. By meeting learned. Boot camp brings the require research with small groups, the teacher children in on the drill, allows for touches more students at one time. differentiation and a method or and a decision about strategy for remembering when Students in the group benefit from hearing their peers interact with remembering is hard, such as what to teach.” their writing, their teacher and the mnemonics or advice from a peer lesson objective. This conferencing describing what worked for them. -Calkins strategy can also be demonstrated And of course, not everyone needs through a Fish Bowl technique as boot camp. well. We went on to watch a video of two students conferencing with each other. The Workshop, minilessons, conferencing and grammar language the students used in their conversation was skills, nothing new here. The change is in the developed over time, modeled from the checklists that importance of writing in the CCSS. If you already Lucy Calkins offers on her CD and through hearing knew that, enjoy the comfort that comes when sound good conversation in small group conferences. Note educational practices remain and teachers drive that these are student peer conferences, with a focus on decisions based on evidence found in student writing conversation–not peer editing sessions. and the needs of each writer. Whether one-on-one or in a small group, the conference can be delivered as a Demonstration, an Explanation with Example, Guided Practice, Proficient Partner or through Inquiry. Calkins offers advice on when to use each strategy and what it might sound like between the student and the teacher. These lessons come right out of Calkins, One to One: The Art of Conferring with Young Writers from 2005. She suggests every conference begin with “Researching the Writer,” using an open ended question like, “How’s it going?” with the aim of understanding what the child is trying to do, has done and how we as teachers can help. An obvious question and one that often escapes my conferences with students is, “What will your end piece look like?” In other words–more choice. When writing an opinion piece, will the end product be a letter, an February 2014

Ilyse Brainin is a literacy consultant, serving on the steering committee of the Illinois Writing Project. This year the Illinois Writing Project will be hosting the National Writing Project Urban Sites Network April 25-26th. It is open to all and entitled, “Many Stories, One Focus: Writing a More Just Future.” For more information: For more information about Debra Gurvitz or Grace Publications: Gurvitz Educational Consulting: Grace Educational Resources: Ilyse Brainin: 13

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Puppets & Pajamas-Palooza! Family Literacy Night By Kimberly Link

Over 200 students and their parents attended Ben-Gil Elementary’s “Puppets & Pajamas-Palooza” Family Literacy night on October 26, 2013 in Gillespie, Illinois. The twohour literacy event was made possible through a Literacy Support Grant from the Illinois Reading Council. Students and parents came in their pajamas, with pillows and blankets in tow, to watch “Sleeping Beauty,” a marionette show put on by the DePriest Puppets from Springfield, Illinois. Upon arrival students and parents were treated to popcorn and lemonade, and the students signed up for a drawing of gift certificates for the annual book fair, “Reading Oasis,” in November. Gift certificates were donated by Mary Newman from the Benld Public Library. The event differed from past literacy nights. Co-coordinator Kimberly Link wanted to give the students an experience which they rarely or had never had. While researching possibilities, Link found a strong rationale behind the use of puppets and strengthening family literacy. “Puppets lend themselves very well to family literacy activities. Even very young children can make their own puppets and use them to make up and act out stories. With a little practice, adults can use puppets to engage children in stories, books, language learning and more.” (NWT Literacy Council) Ollie and Bridget DePriest performed a lovely rendition of “Sleeping Beauty.” The performance mesmerized students, and left the audience in awe. A question and answer session followed the performance. Upon departure, students were given a “goodie bag” which contained an animal finger puppet with a coordinating fable, and a Ben-Gil paper bag puppet for the students to assemble themselves. Thank you, IRC, for allowing us to implement yet another successful family literacy event!

Photos courtesy of Suzi Tiburzi & Kimberly Link


February 2014

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Tech Tip Books Come to Life with Google Lit Trips By Sheila M. Ruh

Imagine crossing a great book with Google Earth–the result is Google Lit Trips! Jerome Burg’s website has many literary journeys that follow characters as they travel through a variety of stories using Google Earth. Along the way, there are markers that are pop-up windows containing a variety of resources relating to the story, such as discussion questions, links to “real world” references, digital images and more. The Google Lit Trip titles span all grade levels, from Kindergarten to beyond high school. Students really enjoy the interactivity of following the characters’ journeys via Google Earth, while learning about the different references in the story. As Mr. Burg states, “Google Lit Trips '3-dimensionalize' the reading experience by placing readers 'inside the story' traveling alongside the characters, looking through the windshield of that old jalopy in The Grapes of Wrath or waddling alongside Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s duckling family in Make Way for Ducklings.” I recommend exploring this great resource and experiencing this revolutionary resource for yourself!

The Illinois Language and Literacy Council (ILLC) and the Illinois Reading Council will co-sponsor the

40th Annual Young Authors Conference May 17, 2014 at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois The 2014 Guidelines and Registration packets are available in November. Please visit the IRC website at for more information. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Chistina Podraza at

BOOK-A-MEMBER CAMPAIGN In IRC’s continuing effort to provide valuable services to our members with Professional Development Events through our 32 local councils, a quarterly high-quality professional journal and statewide newsletter, a monthly e-newsletter, promoting awareness of legislative issues, and offering a top-notch statewide literacy conference with over 350 sessions, we are reaching out to our members to help us regain, gain, and diversify our member base so we can continue offering our services and reach the maximum amount of Illinois academic professionals.

Some ways to help us Regain, Gain, and Diversify! • Reach out to coworkers, administrators, and paraprofessionals. Invite your “next door” teacher to your council’s next event. • You could “gift” a membership to a paraprofessional who works in your classroom or a student teacher in your school or district.

• Promote IRC as a leading professional organization to fulfill Domain 4e of the new evaluation system. • Ask your council to provide a membership to an administrator to encourage involvement in your local council.


Find out more about IRC’s Book-a-Member Campaign on the IRC facebook page. IRC’s membership goal is to reach 5,000+ members by leadership in July 2014.

February 2014



Old State Capitol Historic Site Springfield, Illinois 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Many authors will be present to autograph books at this event! Visit our website for more information


Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, Creak, Pop-Pop, Moo by Jim Aylesworth, il Brad Sneed Cha-Cha Chimps by Julia Durango, il Eleanor Taylor Busy-Busy Little Chick by Janice N. Harrington, il Brian Pinkney Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet by Kimberly Hutmacher, il Sherry Rogers Peep! by Kevin Luthardt Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf, il Andy Robert Davies


Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler, il Ard Hoyt Fairly Fairy Tales by Esmé Raji Codell, il Elisa Chavarri In Arctic Waters by Laura Crawford, il Ben Hodson Doctor Ted by Andrea Beaty, il Pascal Lemaitre Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, il Jane Dyer Multiply on the Fly by Suzanne Slade, il Erin Hunter





The Fast and the Furriest by Andy Behrens Where Lincoln Walked by Raymond Bial Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor, il Laura Beingessner Charlie Collier, Snoop For Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper by John V. Madormo Darwin by Alice B. McGinty, il Mary Azarian GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, il Peter H. Reynolds The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Volcano!: The Icelandic Eruption of 2010 and Other Hot, Smoky, Fierce, and Fiery Mountains by Judith Fradin and Dennis Fradin The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander One Came Home by Amy Timberlake The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead Chime by Franny Billingsley Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies, 2nd Edition by Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein Good Girls by Laura Ruby The Espressologist by Kristina Springer The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin Salsas That Cook: Using Classic Salsas to Enliven Our Favorite Dishes by Rick Bayless A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski Hidden Order: A Thriller by Brad Thor

IRC Shirt Order Form T-SHIRTS (in light blue only): ILLINOIS READING COUNCIL

Small........................................................$12.00 X ______ = _____________ Medium.................................................... $12.00 X ______ = _____________ Large........................................................$12.00 X ______ = _____________ XL............................................................$12.00 X ______ = _____________ XXL..........................................................$14.00 X ______ = _____________ XXXL........................................................$14.00 X ______ = _____________


Small........................................................$17.00 X ______ = _____________ Medium.................................................... $17.00 X ______ = _____________ Large........................................................$17.00 X ______ = _____________ XL............................................................$17.00 X ______ = _____________ XXL..........................................................$19.00 X ______ = _____________ XXXL........................................................$19.00 X ______ = _____________


Small........................................................$30.00 X ______ = _____________ Medium.................................................... $30.00 X ______ = _____________ Large........................................................$30.00 X ______ = _____________ XL............................................................$30.00 X ______ = _____________ XXL..........................................................$32.00 X ______ = _____________ XXXL........................................................$32.00 X ______ = _____________


Small........................................................$20.00 X ______ = _____________ Medium.................................................... $20.00 X ______ = _____________ Large........................................................$20.00 X ______ = _____________ XL............................................................$20.00 X ______ = _____________ XXL..........................................................$22.00 X ______ = _____________ XXXL........................................................$22.00 X ______ = _____________



Name: _________________________________________________ Council: ___________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ City: __________________________________________________ State: ____________________

Zip: __________________

Phone: _________________________________________________ Email: ____________________________________________ Make checks payable to IRC and return to:

Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761 online at: or fax to: (309) 454-3512

Method of Payment: (Sorry, no P.O.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s accepted.)


(payable to IRC)

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Signature _______________________________ Expiration Date:



The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Cool Studies: What’s Hot Illinois Style By Lou Ferroli

What’s hot in literacy? And is it any different in Illinois than in the rest of the country? You are obviously a reader of the IRC Communicator. And if you’re a member of the International Reading Association, then you get their newsletter, Reading Today. That’s where Jack Cassidy and Stephanie Grote-Garcia reveal the results of their annual “What’s Hot” survey which identifies current topics as Hot or Not Hot depending on the level of attention they are receiving. In 2000 the survey began also asking if topics should be receiving attention at the given time. Thus, the categories Should Be Hot (Reading Coaches, this year) or Should Not Be Hot (High-stakes tests) became part of the survey. I love this annual survey, but this year something in the results bothered me.

Most survey research results tend to be a pretty easy read, and this study is no exception. There is still some interpretation involved. For example, the topic of Phonics was “Not Hot” for quite some time during our field’s Whole Language years, when many among us truly believed that Phonics was unimportant. Then came a series of years where the Phonics topic became hotter as a result of the weight of accumulating favorable evidence. A few years ago I was surprised to see Phonics (and its cousin Phonemic Awareness) cooling off. Were we changing our minds about the importance of phonics in spite of the evidence? That didn’t seem likely. Could the national experts be out of touch? That, too, did not seem likely. It finally sunk in that the pendulum swing was simply because the importance of phonics had gained widespread acceptance. We mostly agreed, so it was no longer receiving much attention. That take on things is merely my own conclusion. I never confirmed it. But this year something in the results bothered me, and I wanted to do something about it. I just didn’t know what.

“The 2013 IRA survey result that so flummoxed me was that the topic Response to Intervention, RtI, was Cold!”

The results of any survey are a function of who responds to the questions, of course. The IRA survey details the respondents, their locations, and their teaching positions. The list includes high-recognition national names, bigwigs like David Pearson and Tim Shanahan, both of whom are coming to the IRC for our October, 2014 conference, by the way. Beyond the university people, there is a representative of ETS who works on their National Assessment of Educational Progress project. There are some school district people as well: a principal from New Zealand, a literacy leader from Nebraska, and a second-grade teacher from North Carolina. The list is impressive and every time I closely look at the names I have the same reaction: yes, those folks should have a pretty good handle on what is and should be getting attention around the country. But this year, something in the results bothered me.

Cassidy and Grote-Garcia describe the process and methodology. The survey is completed by phone and an occasional personal interview. The same set of directions, which clarifies what the categories mean, is read to each respondent. The results are quantified by classifying topics as “Extremely Hot” if all of the respondents agreed that the topic is Hot, “Very Hot” if 75% agreed, or “Hot” if 50% agreed. Likewise for “Cold,” or Not Hot.


The 2013 IRA survey result that so flummoxed me was that the topic Response to Intervention, RtI, was Cold! Over 50% of the respondents agreed it was Not Hot. That runs counter to my understanding of current practice. I know of no topic that takes so much attention and time of reading teachers on a daily basis. How could I be so out of touch? And if I’m not, how could the experts be wrong about that? Perhaps Brandi Noll’s forecast was right. I referred in a previous column to her article “RtI Rest In Peace” in which she foretells the demise of RtI under its bureaucratic weight. Noll hoped the obituary she had written for RtI was premature. (Ask her about it yourself as she, too, is coming to be with us in October, 2014.) Like Noll, I suspect that the obituary is a bit early, but that still leaves me without an answer for the RtI-is-Not-Hot finding. Then along came the IRC’s Studies and Research Committee. They had the inspiration to conduct an Illinois version of What’s Hot, What’s Not and their method and their results are very cool. Continued on page 19

February 2014

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator Cool Studies continued from page 18

To assemble a set of voices representing our state’s reading teachers they turned to the IRC membership. Of course, not all Illinois reading teachers are IRC members, but the informed ones are. (I can probably get away with that sentence in the IRC Communicator if nowhere else.) Another virtue of using IRC members as participants is that our councils are geographic, so drawing a sample from each local council should represent statewide demographics nicely. Going one step further, if one wanted the survey participants to be among the most active members, one could draw the sample from the officers of our local councils. The Studies and Research Committee knew that the sample I just described comes together each year at the summer Leadership Conference. And that is where they collected their data. Another methodological difference is that the IRA survey used interviews while the IRC survey used a written questionnaire. Honestly, I suspect that if Jack Cassidy could gather his participants under one roof, he, too, would opt for a questionnaire.

on Literacy” was Hot and that it should be Very Hot. The IRC leaders, in contrast, said that the topic is Very Cold and that it Should Be Cold. They didn’t embrace Political Influence on Literacy. Got to love our Illinois brethren. Finally I did a little interviewing myself of a few IRA experts and a few IRC committee members. Most gave little credibility to the possibility that the IRA experts are out of touch. They were more inclined to conclude that the IRA experts are on solid ground, but Illinois is different. One explanation was that RtI might be hotter in Illinois because a school’s perceived progress and sometimes a teacher’s evaluation are more directly tied here to intervention results and assessment outcomes. An explanation I like even more is that RtI is hotter in Illinois because we were slower to implement it and so we haven’t yet worked through its machinations as other states have done. I like that explanation because if it’s true then maybe in a few more years we, too, will get past scripted interventions and endless progress monitoring with odd little assessments. RtI won’t have to rest in peace; it will just become, literally, a cool topic.

“RtI is hotter in Illinois because we were slower to implement it and so we haven’t yet worked through its machinations.”

While the IRA survey has been conducted almost 20 times there were predictable problems with this first IRC survey’s wording. A basic principle in survey research is that the items must be field tested. Those who do survey research commonly discover that even the simplest items are interpreted differently. So, the IRC data might not be the cleanest it could possibly be, but maybe they were looking at this as just a field test to be tweaked next year. They didn’t know I would get my hands on it.

The results were presented at an IRC Board of Directors meeting, and all the data are available to members*. When I listened to the report and looked at the data, there was one main item that I needed to hear about. Did Illinois reading teachers also see RtI as a cold topic? The answer is “No.” They did not. Illinois teachers saw RtI as “Very Hot” with 77% of the teachers saying Hot. And 62% even said that it Should Be Hot.

Cassidy, J., & Grote-Garcia, S. (August/September, 2013). Common core state standards top the 2014 What’s Hot, What’s Not survey. Reading Today, 31 (1), 12-16.

Goldsmith-Conley, E., Crotty, B., Godt, P., Ludes, K., Shiras, K., & Walker, K. (November, 2013). IRC leadership Hot/Not List. Paper presented at the meeting of the IRC Board of Directors, Bloomington, Illinois.


ol co dies u st

Hot Style

The IRC and the IRA survey results were fairly similar. Of the 23 items that were the same on both surveys only one other showed a big difference across the two populations. The IRA respondents said that “Political Policy Influence

February 2014


203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761

BE IN THE KNOW WITH IRC! In order to better meet the changing needs of our Illinois educators and literacy advocates, IRC is hosting TWO conferences in 2014! Spring Building Bridges to Literacy Conference:

March 13-15, 2014 Springfield, Illinois

Featured authors include Jon Scieszka, Mary Pope Osborne, Nancie Atwell, Carmen Agra Deedy, Jon Waterhouse, Stephanie Harvey, and James Patterson

Fall Harvesting the Fruits of Literacy Conference:

October 2-4, 2014 Springfield, Illinois

We are still taking submissions for our Fall Conference! The deadline for proposals is April 15, 2014

Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Permit No. 800 Springfield, IL

Check out the new IRC Conference App! Create your own schedule Check out where all of your favorite presenters will be next Get directions to events Follow the trail of QR codes for a grand prize Stay updated on all Conference events Scan the QR code below to login and check out the new app! or visit to install the app and access our guide

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