Iowa Reading Association 2016 Spring Newsletter - Part II
“Reading is like breathing in; Writing is like breathing out.”

2016 Iowa Reading Conference
Heidi Stangl & Debra Wake - Iowa Reading Co-Presidents Elect & Conference 2016 Chairs

Discover the Power of Reading at the Iowa Reading Convention on June 28-29, 2016 at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University. To carry out our theme, we have worked hard to find the most powerful names in literacy. In the last two newsletters you met the authors of our Iowa book studies – Regie Routman and Tanny McGregor and you met our children’s authors – Trent Reedy, KennNesbitt, Nancy Carlson and Debbie Dadey. This month you will meet more of this year’s powerful conference presenters.

Dr. Steven Layne is a respected literacy consultant, motivational keynote speaker,  and featured author who works with large numbers of educators and children during school visits and at conferences held throughout the world each year.

Dr. Layne has authored 27 books including multiple award-winning titles in  both the picture book and young adult genres including his beloved classic—   The Teachers’ Night before Christmas, the teen thriller This Side of Paradise and the heartwarming picture book Love the Baby.  Dr. Layne’s first professional book for educators, Igniting a Passion for Reading:  Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers was released in 2010.  Newer titles include the YA novel Paradise Lost, the picture book Stay with Sister, and a new edition of his bestselling gift book Life’s Literacy Lessons:  Poems and Stories for Teachers. In February of 2015, Dr. Layne’s newest professional book—In Defense of Read-Aloud—was released. 

Dr. Susan Hall, founder of the 95% Group, is a nationally recognized leader in RTI, data analysis, and 95 Percent reading instruction. Dr. Hall has more than 15 years of experience as a consultant to districts and schools in the field of reading intervention. She is a sought-after speaker at reading conferences nationwide and has authored seven books, including the bestselling I’ve DIBEL’ed, Now What? and Implementing Response to Intervention

Ken Stamatis is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Harding University. He conducts extensive consulting and speaks to groups of educators across the country in the areas of mid-level literacy. Ken serves as the project consultant/trainer for the Smart Step Literacy Lab Project - a highly praised staff development program for mid-level/secondary teachers throughout Arkansas. Ken taught reading 14 years in public schools before joining the University. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Milken National Educator Award in 1996 and the Arkansas Public Hero award in 1997. In 2009, Ken founded Africa Reads and has been working to mobilize American teachers and university students to aid in the organization's development efforts.

Iowa’s own, Shannon McClintock Miller is a teacher librarian and technology integration specialist. She encourages young people and educators to have a voice while learning, creating, collaborating, and connecting to others globally. She is an educational consultant for Mackin Educational Resources and Cantata Learning.  Shannon is Skype's Education Ambassador and is part of the Best Keynote group. She speaks and consults in Iowa and around the country on education, librarianship, technology, social media, and making a difference in education and the lives of others. Shannon is the author of the award winning The Library Voice blog and enjoys writing for various blogs, journals and other forums.

Don’t put it off! Go to and register for the 2016 Iowa Reading Conference. Ask your Iowa administrators to support the Iowa Reading Conference as a part of your summer professional development. Register before April 1 for the early bird discount. Ask your friends to join you because groups of six or more get an additional discount. You can also earn license renewal or college credit from Heartland AEA and Viterbo University just by attending the conference. Follow Iowa Reading on Facebook and on Twitter. Join us at the Iowa Reading Conference and “Discover the Power of Reading” for yourselves!
“Good Teachers are specialists at opening small packages.”

Children's Book Reviews
Debra Wake, Iowa Reading Association Co-President Elect
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids have sold more than 42 million copies in several different languages, spawned two other series and are beloved by millions of children across the world.  Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones created the series while Debbie was a librarian and Marcia was a reading teacher.  Their desire was to create something that even the most reluctant readers would enjoy. Even though the first Bailey School Kids book, Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots, celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2015, the Bailey School books are still read and loved by today’s children.

Each of the third graders in my district read a Bailey School book and then we shared them during their library time. The children were so excited many of them kept reading Bailey School books. After several weeks of reading the Bailey School books, Debbie Skyped with our entire third grade. She answered many of their questions and she inspired them to start writing their own stories. She also read to them from her new book The Crook and the Crown, which is from her new series, Mermaid Tales. These chapter books dive into adventure and along the way the reader learns about ocean life. Each book has a glossary of sea animals to appeal to the non-fiction lovers, as well as an ocean themed lesson taught by a teacher with a mermaid tail! Her next book, Twist and Shout, will be brand new at the time of the Iowa Reading Association’s 2016 conference in June.   Register now for the conference and come to Ames and meet Debbie Dadey. Debbie is available for school visits and SKYPES.  Find out more about Debbie on and like her at
“You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.”

Tech Time
By Julie Ortner

We all have students that are reluctant to participate in class discussions. Some are fearful of being wrong, some wait to see what their friend(s) say, some are just quiet, etc. We also have those students that could talk all day if we would just let them. There are two websites that you can use in your classroom to easily get all students’ input. and are both quick and easy ways to gather students answers/input. Both websites allow you to pose a question or a topic and students can answer electronically. On lino, students submit their answers on post-it notes. A photo, url, or attachment can also be posted. Answer garden gathers answers and arranges them similar to a wordle, where the most used responses are in larger print.
“The smile on your face is the light in that
window that tells students you are home.”

By Deb Mortensen, State Secretary and Newsletter editor, Zone D

As many of you know I became the elementary music teacher last year. This was a big shift from teaching kindergarten but one thing stays the same—I use books to enhance my classroom instruction. Children love being read to and adding music makes the story come even more alive. I am currently using Jack Pretulsky’s book to introduce Camille Saint Saens music called The Carnival of the Animals. The children love the illustrations and when we listen to the different movements of music they have strong opinions of how the music makes them feel. Saint Saens music also helps create images in the children’s minds as to how each animal moves (i.e. the “lion” music gets louder as he approaches, the “turtle” music moves slowly etc.) If children can create images in their mind, it helps their comprehension. Even though a child might not be able to see a wild mule in person, the book (and music) aids in their appreciation of the animals in their world. By hearing Saint-Saens “Wild Mules” (and seeing the illustration in Pretulsky’s book), children as young as first grade can create an image in their mind as to where it lives and how it moves. Music and literacy= happy teachers, children and lifelong learners!
Our mailing address is: Iowa Reading Association | P.O. Box 16 | Ossian, IA 52161