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Volume 36, Number 4 In This Issue: BOARD BRIEFS President’s Column . . . . . . . . . . 1 IRA State Coordinator . . . . . . . . 2-3 IRC ACTIVITIES 2013 Awards and Grants . . . . . 4-5 Awards at IRA Convention . . . . 5 2013 IRC Conference . . . . . . . 6 2013 Hall of Fame . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 2014 IRC Conference . . . . . . . 20 FORMS 2014 Program Proposal for IRC Conference . . 10-12 Illinois Reads Marketplace . . . . 15 FEATURES Hungry for Reading! . . . . . . . . . 7 Illinois Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 National Book Festival . . . . . . . . 8 RtI Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . 9 SRL’s 37th Day of Reading . . . 9 Meet an IRC Researcher . . . . . 14 Newspapers in Education . . . . 16 Reading Comprehension . . . . . 17 Author Visits . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 17 Cool Studies . . . . . . . . . . . 18-19

2014 IRC Conference March 13-15, 2014

May 2013

We never know whether March will come in like a lion or a lamb, but we DO know that, regardless of the weather, the Illinois Reading Council’s annual conference comes in like a blast of fresh air and leaves us with a flurry of ideas, IRC connections, motivation and resolve. President The 2013 IRC Conference, Literacy Pat Braun for Life, was no exception. Authors shared their stories, inspirations, and writing processes. Academics shared their research and professional methods, while teachers and librarians shared their practical applications. Hotel and convention staff made the Springfield experience feel like a homecoming. Hellos and hugs were abundant and a bit of sadness came over everyone as the events culminated. Monday’s students across the state and beyond Illinois borders benefited from their teachers’ Springfield experience. Educators, filled with enthusiasm and new methods and materials, shared with sleepy Monday morning learners. Teachers woke up their kids and colleagues with their renewed resolve to bring literacy to life this spring. That is what the Illinois Reading Council is all about all year long. Stay connected, apply the new ideas, and use the new materials. Put the 2014 IRC Conference, Building Bridges to Literacy, on your calendar and, while you anticipate next year’s conference, be sure to attend local and special interest council events, read the IRC Journal and the IRC Communicator, and check out the IRC web site.

Registration and Housing will be available in October.

Keep Illinois Reads ( in mind as you enjoy the spring that has finally arrived and the summer to come.

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

IRA State Coordinator Roberta Sejnost

Ahh, Spring, the time for flowers and warm weather and thoughts of summer vacation. It is also the time to reflect on the IRC year in passing and the future. IRC and LOCAL COUNCILS

In addition, 9 Local Councils fulfilled the requirements for the prestigious IRA Honor Council award. Bravo to: • • • • • • • • •

Chicago Area (CARA) East-Central-EIU Illinois Title I Association (ITA) MID-State Northern Illinois Prairie Area  SCIRA Two Rivers West Suburban

What an exciting year for IRC and Local Councils! First, who can deny what a spectacular state conference we had The IRC Retreat this year will be held on July 10in March? Bravo to Tammy Potts, her committee and 12, 2013: at Grand Bear Lodge & Resort at Starved the IRC office for staging a memorable Literacy for Life Rock. Local Council Officers, State Committee Chairs, experience for us all. In addition, Regional Directors, and Executive Local Council leaders have worked Officers are all invited to attend this extremely hard to provide quality comprehensive training and teamprograms, terrific community service building workshop. This retreat IRC’s Leadership projects, and wonderful teacher format has proven to be extremely Retreat provides support systems. Although all of our beneficial. Councils that had full councils with everything slates of officers attending previous 32 councils have made tremendous strides to promote literacy this year, trainings are flourishing because needed to have a 18 have earned the distinction of the retreat gave them time to get successful, productive Council of Excellence. “Hats off” to know each other socially and on year … to the IRC Councils of Excellence a working basis as well as having for 2012-2013: uninterrupted time to plan and organize a year of exciting programs • Central Illinois and service activities. • Chicago Area (CARA) • Fox Valley Because we feel the training is so beneficial to councils • Illini we will once again offer the Retreat at little or no cost to • Lewis & Clark the local council. (Special fees are assessed for councils • MID-State who send more than the allotted attendees and/or fail to • Mississippi Valley attend.) IRC pays for villa accommodations, meals, and • Northern Illinois mileage. And, as before, councils with 5 or more officers • Northwestern in attendance will receive a villa for just their council. • Prairie Area • South Eastern IRC’s Leadership Retreat provides councils with • South Suburban everything needed to have a successful, productive year • Starved Rock such as office-alike breakout sessions, plus training on • Vermillion Valley developing programs, membership drives, available • Western Illinois grants, council awards, Council of Excellence, Honor • West Suburban Council and much more. Planning time to work with • Illinois Title I Association your individual councils and neighboring councils is also • Secondary Reading League (SRL) built into the program. Reservation forms will be sent via Continued on page 3


May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator IRA State Coordinator continued from page 2

email following the April Board of Directors’ meeting. We look forward to seeing every Local Council there. And, in between the past and the future, we have the continuing saga of Common Core. Although Illinois adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, some of us may still be struggling with exactly what they look like in our classrooms. Here are 3 user-friendly resources from IRA that give you what you need to analyze literacy skills and set specific learning targets for students. In these resources you will find clear, precise expectations; dozens of demonstrations and examples of student writing; and explanations and commentaries on student performances that explain the qualities that meet the standard and answer the often-asked question, “How good is good enough?” Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Third Grade (Resnick & Snow. IRA, $31.95) focuses on the standard of “Talking a Lot in Preschool.” This standard is tantamount to the development of oral language skills because high-quality, purposeful talk and attentive feedback are critical for the development of language skills. The video from the text’s companion DVD shows an informal, snack-time discussion of students responding to direct questions, talking and listening in small groups, and sharing and talking daily about their own experiences, products, or writing. http://www.

Reading and Writing Grade by Grade (Resnick, & Hampton. IRA, $31.95) focuses on the standard “Discussing Books in Third Grade.” This text stresses that third grade students need to expand their discussion of books to include themes and content, author’s craft, and inferred meanings of the text. The video from the text’s companion DVD presents a book discussion about making connections between students’ knowledge of Japanese culture and their current reading of Pearl S. Buck’s novel The Big Wave as they refer to knowledge built during discussion and use accurate, accessible, and relevant information. downloads/publications/videos/768/b.html Reading and Writing With Understanding: Comprehension in Fourth and Fifth Grades (Hampton & Resnick. IRA, 23.95) focuses on the standard “Writing Different Kinds of Texts in Fourth and Fifth Grade.” The authors note that fourth and fifth graders are expected to produce many different kinds of writing, and content area writing becomes important because students must express an understanding of various academic subjects through writing such as authenticity of sources in history and validity as well as clarity of expression, coherence of ideas, and correctness. Specific examples of student writing and detailed commentaries about each as well as scholarly research and ideas for classroom applications provide a vivid picture of fourth and fifth graders as they engage in comprehension and compose meaning.

I hope you can make use of these resources and I am A detailed commentary on the children’s performance looking forward to seeing you at the Leadership Retreat New Header R3.pdf 1 8/10/12 10:56 AM in the above video can be heard at: http://www.reading. in July and, of course, throughout the 2013-2014 year. org/downloads/publications/videos/769/ Yours in Leadership, Bobbie Sejnost

Mission The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to educators as they promote and teach lifelong literacy.

May 2013

Illinois Reading Council 203 Landmark Drive, Suite B Normal, IL 61761 Phone: 888-454-1341 Fax: 309-454-3512 E-Mail: Website: Ning: and join us on Facebook!


The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Awards & Grants at the IRC Conference March 14-16, 2013 Adult & Family Literacy Grants Sarah Howe – Fox Valley Reading Council

The IRC Adult and Family Literacy Committee will award up to $750 to develop and implement projects to help address adult literacy issues. Literacy projects that involve adults or adults with their children will be considered for funding.

Barack Obama Literacy Fund Award Stephanie Solbrig, Lewis School, Carbondale

This award was established from a $40,000 donation from Senator Barack Obama. An endowment was established with the interest allocated to an annual literacy award given to create classroom libraries for African-American middle-school students to have access to “culturally relevant” books. Cahokia and Rockford, Illinois were chosen as this year’s target area.

Runner-up Library was awarded to: Corey Winemiller, Albion Grade School

Gene Cramer ICARE for Reading Award Debbie Samuelson

The Illinois Council for Affective Reading Education recognizes an educator who has performed in an outstanding manner to show concern for the affective domain and who has promoted lifelong reading habits among students.

Hall of Fame Award Pamela Nelson

This award recognizes significant contributions to reading or reading education.

Illinois Reading Educator of the Year Award K-5: Karen Biggs-Tucker 6-12: Ingrid Minger Reading Specialist: Barbara Malinger College Instructor: Donna Werderich

This award recognizes outstanding teachers who make contributions in promoting literacy among students, colleagues, and school communities.

IRC Service Award Ronda Brown Susan Cisna

This award recognizes the most deserving individuals who have made outstanding contributions for IRC.

Legislator of the Year Award Senator Kimberly A. Lightford

Parents & Reading Award Juanita Scott

This award recognizes an IRC member who promotes and supports parent involvement in children’s reading.

Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children Eric Rohmann

This award recognizes an Illinois children’s/young adult author whose body of work demonstrates excellence, engenders a love of literature, and promotes lifelong literacy.

Council of Excellence Award Chicago Area Reading Association Central Illinois Reading Council Fox Valley Reading Council Illini Reading Council Illinois Title I Association Lewis and Clark Reading Council MID-State Reading Council Mississippi Valley Reading Council Northern Illinois Reading Council Northwestern Illinois Reading Council Prairie Area Reading Council South Eastern Reading Council South Suburban Reading Council Secondary Reading League Starved Rock Reading Council West Suburban Reading Council Western Illinois Reading Council Vermilion Valley Reading Council

This program recognizes local and special interest councils that organize and conduct well-rounded programs serving the council members, the community, and the state association.

Councils Awarded Speaker Grants Central Illinois Reading Council Macon County Reading Council Starved Rock Reading Council

Hall of Councils 1st Place – Starved Rock Reading Council 2nd Place – Two Rivers Reading Council 3rd Place – Northern Illinois Reading Council

The Hall of Councils at the conference allows the councils an opportunity to advertise their activities and accomplishments and to promote membership with a display.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions toward advocating literacy and education in Illinois.


May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator Council Anniversaries 45 Years: Illinois Valley Reading Council Macon County Reading Council Secondary Reading League 40 Years: Illinois Language and Literacy Council Mississippi Valley Reading Council Suburban Council of IRA South Suburban Reading Council Starved Rock Reading Council Two Rivers Reading Council 25 Years: Illinois Council for Affective Reading 20 Years: Illinois Title I Association

Other Awards Announced 2013 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 2013 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ (4-8) Book Award Smile by Raina Telgemeier 2013 Bluestem 3-5 Readers’ Choice Award 1st Place – Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper 2nd Place – Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea 3rd Place – Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Static Stick Decal Design Contest 1st Place – Fae Harrell, 6th Grade, Columbia Middle School, Columbia, Illinois 2nd Place – Anna Hulstedt, 5th Grade, Washington Academy, Belvidere, Illinois rd 3 Place – Carol Burruss, 6th Grade, Unity Point School District, Carbondale

2013 Monarch K-3 Readers’ Choice Book Award 1st Place – Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin 2nd Place – We Are in a Book by Mo Willems 3rd Place – Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

Honorable Mention Winners were: Roman Capozzoli, 5th Grade, Ascension School, Oak Park Claire Niebrugge, 5th Grade, Teutopolis Elementary, Teutopolis Molly Moore, 6th Grade, Bernotes Middle School, Crystal Lake Kiersten Cathelyn, 6th Grade, Geneseo Middle School, Geneseo Nick Tensen, 5th Grade, Teutopolis Elementary, Teutopolis Charlie Harres, 6th Grade, Columbia Middle School, Columbia

IRC received the following awards at the 58th annual IRA Convention on April 19th in San Antonio, Texas:

Students in grade 4, 5, or 6 are encouraged to create an original design promoting reading. The winning design is printed on static stick decals.

Awards at the IRA Convention Advocacy Award Presented to the Illinois Reading Council for taking an active role in educational policy and legislation. Award of Excellence Presented to the Illinois Reading Council for providing programs and activities that contribute to education and support councils, members, and IRA. Honor Council Chicago Area Reading Association East Central-EIU Reading Council Illinois Title I Association MID-State Reading Council Northern Illinois Reading Council Prairie Area Reading Council Suburban Council of IRA Two Rivers Reading Council West Suburban Reading Council Membership Achievement Award Illinois Reading Council received a GOLD recognition for growth in IRA membership.

Ilinois Reading Council Illinois Council for Affective Reading Education May 2013

Exemplary Reading Program Award Grove Avenue Elementary School, Barrington, Illinois 5

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

2013 IRC Conference Literacy for Life

By Tammy Potts, 2013 Conference Chair Kelly Gallagher, Featured Speaker “I remain impressed with IRC’s annual conference. It is truly in the top tier of regional literacy conferences in the country. Teachers in Illinois are fortunate to have this resource.” Brian Oaks, Director of the Prairie Capital Convention Center “Thanks again to the IRC for another fantastic conference in Springfield! As always we were wowed by the quality of your programming and trade show offerings for your members.  We’re looking forward to unveiling some exciting new updates to the Prairie Capital Convention Center for your 2014 event!” Chris Maxwell, Participant “That IRC Conference was amazing. There were dozens of choices of sessions that were extremely informative each hour, helpful, terrific authors to meet and learn from, and speakers that were inspirational. That three days really rocked my world! You did a spectacular job and I thank you for providing us professionals with an opportunity to become recharged, inspired, educated and exhausted (in a good way).” Sharon M. Draper, Featured Author “The Illinois Reading Council conference of 2013 was truly awesome! Wellorganized, synchronized, and mobilized! I appreciate the mapped-out schedule for each day, the assistance getting from location to location, but most of all, the dynamic conversations with educators from all over the state. I had a wonderful time. Thank you for having me and making me feel so welcomed.”


Tiffany Sears, International Reading Association, Leadership Development Associate “I had the pleasure of attending Illinois Reading Council’s 45th annual conference. The detail and organization of this conference was amazing. Teachers from all over the state were in attendance and the desire to learn was everywhere. IRC is an incredible resource for the teachers of Illinois and the level of professional development is top notch! Great job IRC!!!” Steven L. Layne, Judson University, Professor of Literacy Education  “My students LOVED the conference, and they are all abuzz about returning each year.  That is my goal for them!” Jane Potts, Volunteer “Thanks again for allowing us to join you for the conference.  It was fun, interesting, energizing!”  Neal Shusterman, Featured Author “What a wonderful conference!   I was thrilled to be a part of it! There was such a spirit of excitement for reading among all the educators present, as well as a feeling of family.  I look forward to being a part of the IRC conference again in the future!” Val Cawley, Participant “IRC’s 2013 LITERACY FOR LIFE conference certainly lived up to its name by offering something for everyone! Outstanding speakers and presenters delivered a variety of engaging topics for personal and professional growth for educators of all ages. I eagerly await the 2014 conference that will help us BUILD BRIDGES TO LITERACY.”

May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Hungry for Reading!

By Pamela J. Farris, Pamela J. Farris Rural Library Award Chair “Oh, man! You’re gonna love this one!” “I can’t decide which one I want to read first. It’s so hard to choose!” These were some of the comments from students as they opened boxes and boxes of books from the Pamela J. Farris Rural Library Award. A variety of fiction and informational books were selected by the committee with the assistance of Erin Taylor of Wonderland Bookstore in Rockford, Illinois. The first Pamela J. Farris Rural Library turned out to be two libraries as there was a tie for the grant. Pam decided that a tie was a good thing for promoting reading and gave each teacher a $500 classroom library. One library was presented to fourth grade teacher Shevawn Yochum and the second to 6-8th grade language arts teacher Katie Wilkinson. Both teach in the Chadwick-Milledgeville School District in northwest Illinois. The teachers wasted no time in handing out sticky notes for students to write the book titles and their names on to check out the new books—delivered just in time for spring break reading. Books included informational titles from Illinois authors such as Candace Fleming (Our Eleanor) and Sally Walker (Blizzard of Glass and Shipwreck Search). Ties to the state of Illinois included Presidents from the Prairie State: Lincoln Grant Reagan Obama, Emancipation Proclamation, L is for Lincoln, and Abraham Lincoln: 16th President. Andrea Beatty’s, another Illinois Author, Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies was part of the fiction collection of the library. Other titles included Three Times Lucky, Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Rush for the Gold, and Fetching. The Pamela J. Farris Rural Library Award targets small rural K-8 classrooms to provide them with fiction and informational books for free reading. May 2013

A READING STATE OF MIND A Project of the ILLINOIS READING COUNCIL Join the statewide literacy initiative from March to November 2013! Six books in each age band, birth to adult, with fun activities, book clubs, author events, online blogs, Skype visits, and more!

Visit our website for more information 7

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

National Book Festival

Bonnie Matheis, Illinois Center for the Book and Illinois State Library

The Illinois Center for the Book is very proud of our partnership with Prairie State Award recipients. The authors who receive this award from the Illinois Reading Council are showcased by the Center for the Book at the annual National Book Festival—a program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The goal of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is to stimulate public interest in books and reading while highlighting literacy and library promotion. The Center’s audience includes readers and potential readers of all ages. The Center achieves this goal by having affiliate centers in each state. The largest all-inclusive event of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is the National Book Festival, which takes place on the National Mall in Washington DC. Each state has a table in the Pavilion of the States—the largest and most popular pavilion of the festival. The States Pavilion highlights reading programs and children’s/young adult authors from each state.

Upon entering the States Pavilion, each individual receives a National Festival USA Map. On one side is a map of the USA which the attendees take from state table to state table to have stamped or stickered. On the other side is a suggested reading list for young people, compiled with a recommendation from each state. Since 2009, the Illinois Center for the Book has highlighted the Prairie State Award recipient and one of his/her books. Each year, the Coordinator of the Illinois Center for the Book contacts the Prairie State Award recipient, letting them know that one of their books will be highlighted on the National Festival USA Map. Arrangements are made to obtain copies of the prize-winning book to highlight at the Illinois table. At the end of the festival, the books are then given to teachers or librarians for their use. Last year, the National Book Festival hosted more than 200,000 people—a fitting showcase for the winners of the prestigious Prairie State Award.

Photo from the 2009 National Book Festival.

Laurie Lawlor, 2010 Prairie State Award Recipient, at the 2010 National Book Festival.


2012 National Book Festival Poster and Brochure highlighting Illinois Author Carolyn Crimi’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Mole.

May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

RtI/Common Core Book Review By Amy Zaher, RtI/Common Core Committee Member

Title: Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading Author: Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst Publisher: Heinemann ISBN: 978-0-325-04693-8 CCSS Standard Strands Addressed: RL 1-10 Reviewer: Amy M. Zaher, RtI/Common Core Committee Member Beers and Probst provide practical applications on how to teach students to “notice and note” important parts of a literary text. The close reading of sufficiently complex text is part of the shifts that need to happen to prepare our students for the demands of the Common Core Standards. This book is mostly geared for students fourth grade and up but I feel there are many ways that one can adapt these ideas for younger students. The first section of the book discusses the state of reading today and answers questions such as what is close reading, what is the role of talk and how do I judge the complexity of a text. The second section of the book defines the six signposts that students should notice and note. Some examples are Contrasts and Contradictions, Aha Moments, Tough Questions, Words of the Wiser, Again and Again and Memory Moment. This section defines these signposts and discusses what literary element it helps readers understand. The third section of the book provides six story excerpts and lessons using the notice and note signposts. At the end, the authors conclude with a helpful Q and A section that is very informative and should not be missed. Beers and Probst summarize it best, “So there you have it. Six lessons. Six signposts. Six anchor questions. One goal: to help teachers help students come to love thoughtful, reflective, engaged reading.” Pg. 189

May 2013


2014 PROGRAM PROPOSAL Illinois Reading Council Conference March 13-15, 2014


Proposals may be submitted for small group sessions. • SMALL GROUP SESSIONS will be scheduled for 60 minutes. Presenters desiring more time may request a double session.


• 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 typed, legible, and complete. The Program Committee reserves the right to disqualify incomplete or late proposals.


• 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 (February 1, 2014). If not, name and presentation may be removed from the final 2014 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 audio-visual equipment is the responsibility of the presenter(s). • Proposals must be submitted online at or postmarked no later than September 1, 2013. Each person submitting a proposal will be sent an acknowledgment by email when the proposal is received. Future correspondence will also be sent by email. • All applicants will be notified of the Program Committee’s decisions by December 1, 2013. 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 Web: Fax: 309-454-3512 Ning:

Submit Program Proposals Online at!

2014 PROGRAM PROPOSAL Illinois Reading Council Conference March 13-15, 2014

Please type or print all information.



Name (Last)___________________________________ (First)_________________________________________


City________________________________________ State______________ Zip_______________________

Telephone: Work____________________________ Home________________________________________

Position and/or Title___________________________________________________________________________

School/District/Professional Affiliation____________________________________________________________

Work Address______________________________________ City___________________ State___________





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.

Literacy Skills (fluency, word identification, comprehension, vocabulary) Literature Studies Extending Literacy through Speaking and Listening Extending Literacy through Writing Technology in the Classroom Diversity (multicultural, multiple intelligences, gender issues, ELL, gifted, at-risk) Coordinating/Administering a Reading Program Adolescent Literacy

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Literacy Initiatives (inclusion, teaming, literacy coaching, RtI) Research-Based Practice Standards (CCSS), Assessment, and Evaluation Early Childhood and Emergent Literacy Literacy Across the Curriculum Administration Title I Adult and Family Literacy Library Instruction Visual and Critical Literacy


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 _______ Internet Connection

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.

_______ Overhead Projector _______ Display Table


_______ No AV Needed _______ Classroom Style

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

_______ Friday

(Tables and Chairs)

_______ No Preference

_______ 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 February 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 September 1, 2013. Proposals must 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

IRC Hall of Fame Award Cindy Wilson, IRC Past President

What do you do with someone who has lived a life full of passion for learning, literacy, and helping others to share that love? Why, you induct her into the Illinois Reading Council Hall of Fame, that’s what–and that’s just what happened to Pamela Nelson during the 2013 IRC Annual Conference. The technical facts about Pam’s life point straight to receiving such an honor. She has not only taught literacy courses but also presented workshops and published articles about a wide array of topics concerning literacy issues, including getting boys to read, the reciprocity between content area artifacts and literacy skills to increase understanding, multicultural literature, and using poetry in a multitude of ways. Pam’s involvement with the Illinois Reading Council began a long time ago, resulting with her 30+ years of service to the Northern Illinois Reading Council, also serving as President of that local organization. She then followed with service in many roles on the state level, serving as secretary of the Executive Board, Preservice Teacher Membership Chair, Regional Director, and President (which includes duties as vice president, president-elect, president, and past president, including planning and carrying out a wonderful conference.) She is also often seen hosting the Poetry Open House at the IRC annual May 2013

conference, introducing published poets as well as encouraging the rank and file of the rest of us to share our favorite poems or original work. In 2012, the International Reading Association recognized her with the Maryann Manning Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, an award richly deserved. In addition to Pam’s many professional accomplishments, she has made countless intangible and immeasurable contributions to the good of children and teachers everywhere. Her optimistic and cheerful enthusiasm is a genuine constant, whether she is leading a meeting, preparing for a workshop, pulling objects out of her Poetry Suitcase, speaking with young children, introducing a famous author, or chatting with friends. She reflects Mother Theresa’s suggestion to “Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier,” because that is certainly the case. Even bad news would end up feeling good coming from Pam. The next time you see Pam Nelson, please shake her hand, give her a hug, or just shout ‘Congratulations!’ across the room in recognition of her induction into the Illinois Reading Council Hall of Fame. It is an honor bestowed only on the best and brightest, and she certainly fits that bill.

Nominations for the 2014 IRC Hall of Fame Award are due November 1, 2013. To find out how you can nominate individuals from your area for IRC Awards and other grants, please visit the IRC Website at 13

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Meet an IRC Researcher

By Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley, Studies and Research Committee Chair As part of its ongoing, “Meet an IRC Researcher Series,” the Studies and Research Committee is delighted to present one of its own members, Karen Walker, who is doing important work explicitly aimed at improving literacy practices in our schools. Last spring as a doctoral student at National Louis University, Karen completed a special type of dissertation which has great value for any schools interested in implementing a truly successful school wide independent reading program. Unlike the typical research dissertation, Karen’s project, Improving Literacy Achievement through Independent Student Reading: advocating a policy to increase independent student reading among adolescents, follows the policy advocacy model. This is a model which is being used in doctoral programs at Harvard, Vanderbilt, and the University of Southern California and which has gained credibility and attention in recent years. As Karen explains, the model evolves from school reform initiatives and agendas and has a less theoretical and more practical goal of developing reflective practices in administration. Karen’s commitment to a project that focuses on promoting concrete educational reform is not surprising in that she comes to academia after having spent 3 years at Designs for Change. Designs for Change (DFC) is a nonprofit advocacy organization that describes itself as seeking to change urban education on “a scale that matters by linking research and reform.” The mission of DFC, which was begun in 1977, “is to improve the nation’s 50 largest urban public school systems, beginning in Chicago.” Karen’s interest in working with DFC on reforming urban education grows out of the seven years she spent teaching in the Chicago Public School system. After her detailed investigation of ten schools in a suburban school district in Illinois which required interviews with the multiple stakeholders, administrators, teachers, parents, board members, Karen emerged with a set of ten recommendations that have general validity for most other districts. Although the district had made a commitment to instituting a district 14

wide independent reading program and had invested a significant amount of money in classroom libraries, Karen’s investigation showed they were weak in most of the necessary implementation components. Just providing classrooms with books and setting aside a time when students are told to read will not result in an effective program with visible benefits. Part of her research required her to develop a step by step two year professional development plan that would be necessary to develop the ten components she had determined were crucial to implementation. These components include the following: 1. An effective classroom library needs careful organization. Presenting students with a jumble of books is not effective. 2. Books need to be leveled so students can easily select books that are at their independent reading level. Students need to be taught how to select books on their own that will be just right for them, neither too easy nor too hard. 3. Teachers need to administer reading interest surveys so they can guide students to books with content that will be of interest to them. 4. Students need to have the opportunity to respond to their reading either in writing or discussion. 5. Students need to be taught to apply comprehension strategies to their independent reading. 6. During reading time teachers should be conferencing rather than doing chores. 7. Students need to set individual goals, perhaps through acts that will give them a purpose for reading and will provide an additional means of engagement 8. Students need to be given some sort of formal recognition for meeting the independent reading goals they have set for themselves. For each of these steps, Karen has developed instructional materials. She invites anyone who wants further information to email her at We want to congratulate Karen not only on earning her doctorate, completing a dissertation which provides a practical guide for those of us interested in creating effective school wide independent reading time, and being willing to send us her handouts, but also for having just moved from being an adjunct lecturer at National Louis University to being a full-time, tenure track assistant professor at Rockford College in the fall. May 2013

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The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Newspapers In Education By Leslie Forsman, NIE Co-Chair

AL, BOB, ERA, RBI, MLB, NL. Do these mean anything to you? Does it matter how impressive the writing is (or isn’t) if the communication of ideas fails? When I teach my students about communication, I often use a song in which the artist sings very quickly. I tell them before playing it that their task is to write down what they hear. They question that, but they are really confused when the vocals start. Whether in print or in spoken language, if the reader/listener doesn’t understand, the author/speaker has not communicated well.

Another way to discuss the importance of understanding is through use of the “Close Reading” strategies. (This is not the “Cloze Reading” of the past in which students fill in the blanks in passages by using context clues and reading ahead or re-reading.) Close reading refers to the careful and sustained reading for interpretation of passages. Close reading involves several re-reads of the text with focuses on what the author is saying, their purpose for writing, the selected words’ meanings, and what can be determined from the text structure.

One way to illustrate this point is to have your students Ideally readers will reread to find answers to questions read and interpret the box scores for baseball (or other that are text dependent, but not simply recall questions. sports) or to read and interpret Readers should also look for the classified ads. Both of these text evidence that supports their sections use language that is well responses to these questions. One One way to established, but can be confusing to way to introduce “close reading” someone who does not understand is to “close read” a picture or introduce “close because you don’t comprehend the photo. At this time of year, there reading” is to lingo. Students can work to decipher are stories about sports teams and the lingo, then to write their own championship games and often “close read” a shortened language stories to share these have accompanying photos picture or photo. and decipher. showing joyous celebrations and the tears of defeated players. A variation of this could be to introduce and use rebus stories. Any picture can be divided into The students could then create their own rebus stories. quadrants and then given to small groups of students to A more modern version of this is the emoticon stories. describe what they see in their portion of the picture. The These are (in some cases at least) classic novels that groups should be able to support their conclusions about are retold using both text and emoticons. Printed book what they see. This can also provide an opportunity to titles can be replaced by either rebus or emoticon titles review compare and contrast lessons. Once students for students to explore (or create). Older students can have an understanding of the process, they can begin retell easier titles for younger students. working with text samples as mentioned above.


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Please see the IRC Website for the updated guidelines for submitting an article.


May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Increase Reading Comprehension

Author Visits

Second grade is a year of tremendous growth in reading. Students are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. Students focus on comprehension to make meaning. I noticed last school year that my classroom library offered much more fictional literature compared to non-fiction. I knew with the adoption of the new Common Core State Standards I needed more informational texts.

An administrator once told me that you should only spend grant money on something tangible, concrete items that the school will then own like furniture, books, and computers. At the time, it made sense; after all, you never know when the money will stop. If you spend grant money to hire a teacher, and lose that funding next year, you’ll have to find another way to support the program. Some might feel that an author visit is one of those “flash in the pan” events that would be a waste of grant money.

By Heather Koerber

Once a month my second graders participated in a “Young Explorer” lesson. With financial assistance from the IRC I was able to order a class set of National Geographic’s Pioneer (2-3) editions. Along with each issue came a downloadable interactive whiteboard lesson. My second graders became eager with each “Young Explorer” lesson. The students focused on a specific reading strategy such as asking questions, summarizing, or making inferences. The strategies were planned as a complement to our curriculum. Each edition contained 3 different articles. We typically read one article in class and the remaining articles were read during independent reading time or at home for homework. Parents enjoyed the editions as they made their way home. Conversations were ignited as students and parents could discuss the amazing photographs or key concepts of the articles. As a result of this grant I wanted my students to gain a better understanding of the reading strategies used to make meaning from the informational text. I administered a reading strategy survey in September and May. Every student’s survey indicated growth in their awareness of the reading strategies taught. In addition, I wanted to see 13 points growth in their MAP Reading Comprehension score from fall the spring. A typical student grows 10 points. My class average reported 10.5 points growth in comprehension. Overall, I encourage primary educators to utilize National Geographic’s editions in their classrooms. With the new Common Core Standards rolling out, these editions are a great way to provide more non-fiction material for young readers. I truly appreciated the Illinois Reading Council’s support in funding this literacy grant. May 2013

By Keta Foltz

If that were true, I wouldn’t still be reciting the words Barbara Santucci spoke to my students at her author visit to our school seven years ago. As she stood there in front of my reluctant writers with her shiny published books, she said, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I just sit down and play with words. When I get stuck, I take a walk and think about it. Sometimes I write and it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” Kids need to hear that. They need to hear Ralph Fletcher say, “Here’s the secret to writing: there is no secret.” By they, I mean kids, but more importantly teachers. It needs to be heard by teachers who will be influencing and motivating kids to write for the next thirty years (long after that laptop has died); heard by the teachers who will remind them of that day when the author came and told them they could be writers. We model for students. Kids see us do the math and know it’s possible. They hear us read the books that they will be able to read on their own someday. They need to experience real writers as well. They need teachers who show them that real writing isn’t magic. It’s playing around with words and trying to make it work. These messages come to our students thanks to the IRC’s Literacy Support Grant. The authors who come to our school are the raindrops in the ocean; they start the ripple that will go on forever. 17

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator

Cool Studies: The Interventions List By Lou Ferroli

Does your school have some sort of list of intervention options? I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated by what my students and colleagues are telling me about how something qualifies as an intervention. I hear crazy things like “small group instruction with a reading specialist” doesn’t qualify because interventions have to be research-based.

A 42-item questionnaire was developed to get school psychologists’ perceptions of whether or not they had received sufficient preparation “in seven areas of reading assessment and intervention.” Many of their questions were drawn from a 1988 study by Fish and Margolis that had asked the same question about how prepared school psychologists felt. So, it wasn’t just a study about school psychologists’ preparation in reading, it was also a comparison to the preparation in reading 25 years ago, back in Lee’s days. They sent the questionnaire to a random sample of the membership of the National Association of School Psychologists, and 496 usable surveys were returned.

Years ago I worked with Lee Roberts, a school psychologist who had a great sense of other people’s strengths. In those days, we had SPED staffings that were fun and intellectually stimulating. A roomful of people gathered who knew different things about a certain student, and Lee led us in figuring out what Four items asked about the school was the best way to help the kid in “Are school psychologists’ perceptions of their question. Sometimes it was decided “competence and knowledge related that the placement would be in the psychologists better to reading assessment.” Although “a self-contained LD class. (I know. prepared in reading considerable portion (over 40%) rated I know, but that’s the way we did it nowdays? Asking that their knowledge to be moderately in those days.) Lee would write an low or low,” a majority of responses IEP that stated “reading program to question led me to look were in the “moderately high” level be determined in consultation with into the literature school of expertise. the Reading Specialist.” Lee was a bright guy who knew a lot about psychologists read.” The responses to items about disabilities and psychometrics, but “competence and knowledge related he didn’t know reading. So Lee to interventions” ran the opposite wouldn’t dream of adopting a naïve way. The majority of respondents rated themselves position like telling reading teachers that they had to use low or moderately low when it came to knowledge of just certain programs and they had to do them with fidelity. instruction. Are school psychologists better prepared in reading A few questions asked about the amount of reading nowadays? Asking that question led me to look into the preparation that was required in the curriculums of their journal literature that school psychologists read. I came school psychology graduate programs? For 43%, not a across some very interesting survey research published single course “that exclusively covered the areas of reading in 2007 by Nelson and Machek, who work in Psychology assessment and/or remediation” was required. For 79%, at Montana and Montana State. They envision in the a course which partially covered reading was required. switch to RtI that school psychologists won’t be buried Ninety-two percent agreed or very much agreed that they under so much testing and their professional time could would have benefited from more reading preparation. potentially be reallocated. Thus, school psychologists are better positioned to make a difference in children’s lives Eight of the items on their questionnaire served as a in the area of reading because they can now be involved partial replication of the 1988 Fish and Margolis study. in designing Tier 2 interventions. As I read that I was The school psychologists of the different eras had some thinking that my old buddy Lee didn’t have the preparation similar responses. Both eras received many referrals in to do that, so I was glad to see that Nelson and Machel which reading was a concern (77 vs 79%). In both eras were asking that very question: “How prepared are school Continued on page 19 psychologists to take on such roles?” 18

May 2013

The Illinois Reading Council Communicator Cool Studies continued from page 18

the school psychologists perceived that their competence was inadequate to deal sufficiently with the reading referrals. In both eras, coursework in reading assessment or intervention was not a major component of the graduate training programs. There was one difference between the two eras. Twentyfive years ago, the school psychologists were able to take, on average, one and a half elective courses in reading. Now the school psychologists have room for just half a course (.53) in reading among their electives.

Just as I’m about to finish this column, a faculty colleague and friend who is a retired school administrator and knows how I have been wrestling with these issues of designing reading interventions and monitoring progress, shows up with the timing of a guardian angel. He hands me a copy of a very recent article in Kappan. “I think you’re going to want to see this,” says Wes. The title says, “Seven Ways to Kill RtI.”

The article opens with an “Obituary for Response to Intervention (1982-2018).” How’s that for attentiongrabbing? The author, Brandi Noll, says, “As much as I hope this obituary doesn’t come true, I fear it will, Before suggesting the obvious, that more coursework is especially if schools across the nation continue to make needed, Nelson and Machek ask us to consider the school the types of implementation errors I have witnessed over psychologists’ dilemma, “It might be the last several years.” All seven of that the call for training programs to her ways to pen RtI’s obituary ring broaden their scope into areas such true to me, but I have to tell you about “... an intervention that as community and health psychology, two of them. Her sixth way is to fail is based on the abundant to include assessments like informal organizational psychology, and social psychology has eliminated room reading inventories and running research that finds that to include elective reading courses records. She warns against “replacing programs don’t work; in graduate students’ programs of such assessments with timed readings studies.” Personally, I find that very of grade-level passages” as the instruction with expert easy to believe. And I suspect that assessments give the interventionist teachers does.” the same dilemma is true for many “no information about the strategies a Special Ed teachers today. They are student uses, knows, or needs to learn.” expected to have so much training in so many areas that, when it comes to reading, they have Ah, Brandi Noll, that’s music to my ears. But even less training than they feel they need. prettier is her RtI implementation error #5: “Believing that commercially produced intervention programs, rather Even the 1988 study ended with the researchers wondering: than highly trained, knowledgeable educators, can improve “How do school psychologists improve their understanding reading.” Hallelujah! of reading without sacrificing equally important training priorities?” Seems like some things don’t change. There’s a school district near me, up north near the state line in Boone County, which has its own list of approved Finally, a few questions asked about “advances in reading Tier 2 interventions. But theirs is different because on that knowledge” and tapped into what the respondents knew list, along with the boxed intervention programs, is an about how to do cutting edge reading diagnosis. The items option that says small group instruction with the Reading asked about measuring phonological awareness (OK, easy Specialist. That’s an intervention that is based on the enough) and RAN, or rapid automatized naming, (easy abundant research that finds that programs don’t work; to administer but trickier to interpret). They also asked instruction with expert teachers does. My old friend Lee, about reading rate (even though they called it “fluency”) the school psychologist, would think that’s pretty cool. in the form of words correct per minute measures. And they asked about the respondents’ knowledge about CBM, You can find the study at Nelson, J., & Machek, G. (2007). or curriculum-based measurement, which is actually the A survey of training, practice, and competence in reading same thing, “frequent yet brief probes” of oral reading assessment and intervention. School Psychology Review, speed and accuracy. 36, 311-327. And you can read the RtI RIP piece at Noll, B. (2013). Seven ways to kill RtI. Kappan, 94(6), 55-59. May 2013


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