Iowa Reading Association 2016 Fall Newsletter

President's Column
By Debra Wake and Heidi Stangl 2016-2017 Iowa Reading Association Co-Presidents

Welcome to another school year and another fabulous year of belonging to the Iowa Reading Association. We are still talking about this year’s Iowa Reading Conference - “The Power of Reading”. Over five hundred educational professionals attended the conference. We had ten keynote speakers, including Regie Routman and Tanny McGregor who were the authors of this year’s book studies. We had over sixty breakout sessions so each person could pick sessions they could best use in their classroom.We plugged into the power of technology by featuring our very first Skype keynote with Shannon McClintock Miller and we used the Sched app to stay in touch with our smart devices.
One of our goals is to encourage members to join their local councils. We feel that local councils are the lifeblood of the Iowa Reading Association. It is so rewarding to get together with other professionals who are dedicated to the field of literacy. By attending regular meetings you can get ideas from speakers you can use the next day in the classroom, you can collaborate with other professionals in your area, and you can develop your leadership skills on a local level. The strongest thing we can do to increase our membership is to personally invite others to join us.
One of our keynote speakers was Ken Stamatis, a Harding University faculty member in the college of education. Ken introduced us to Africa Reads, Inc., which is a recognized 501-3c non-profit organization, whose primary aim is to partner with schools and educators in the country of Rwanda. Ken founded the organization in 2008 after witnessing the need firsthand when he visited the country at the request of the Rwanda Ministry of Education. The goals of Africa Reads are to support teachers, to teach English, and to provide books. After hearing Ken speak about this at our conference we decided to adopt Africa Reads as this year’s international project. For more information go to Kelly Neumann is our International Project Chair.
Start your year off right by joining your local reading council. Check out our website at to find a local council. Attend a local meeting aind out the latest news, hear great speakers, and collaborate with teachers from across the state. Invite a first year teacher to go with you and their membership for the year is paid.
Plan now to attend the 2017 Iowa Reading Conference on June 28-29 and “Dive into Reading!” The 2017 conference is being planned by President-Elect Stephanie Laird. Stephanie is also part of the International Literacy Association’s Board of Directors. We are so proud to have this rising young star as a vital part of the Iowa Reading Association. Follow Stephanie on Twitter at @lairdlearning. For more information on the conference check out You can also follow Iowa Reading on Facebook and Twitter.
Dive into Reading this year by getting involved in your local reading council. Dive in and do something you have never done before - take part in a book study, volunteer for a local office, run for a state office, offer to do a presentation, invite a friend to a meeting. Whatever you do, just dive in!

Iowa Reading Association 2016 Award Winners

Iowa Celebrate Literacy Award:  Sue Winter is the Iowa Reading Association’s 2016 winner of the Celebrate Literacy Award. Sue’s love of books and commitment to her small town public library, The Hubbard Public Library, made her an excellent nominee from the Hardy Reading Council. Sue has worked hard to expand program offerings at her library in the ten years that she has served as library director. The most recent honor received this year has been a “Star Library” designation of four stars, up from the three star designation received the previous year. Sue finds many ways to encourage literacy in her town, from giving new moms a free book to read to their babies, to planning and teaching the summer reading program, and even planning fun events like the annual Halloween party and Christmas party! Children are excited about the resident reptiles at Sue’s library, and have taken great interest in reading more informational books about animals due to her wildlife display. Sue has even written and won grants to be able to purchase new technology like playaways, which helps to put books into even more children’s hands. Sue’s passion for literacy is evident to everyone who walks into the library, and that is part of the reason she was selected as this year’s Celebrate Literacy Award Winner!

L to R: Joy Reinert, Sue Winter, Tony Pieper and Lynette Minteer.
Sue was nominated by members of the Hardy Reading Council.

Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year: Wendy Matson is the Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year for 2016. Nominated by her local council, Midlands of Iowa, Wendy has been involved in her local council for more than 17 years. In that time, Wendy has never backed down from a request to help out or be a strong leader. In her time with MIRC, Wendy has served her council as secretary, committee member of the creative writing-poetry committee, and has also served on the executive board as Membership Chair. She has attended the state Leadership day and assisted in many facets of that workshop. In her classroom, her love of literacy shines through and her tireless preparation is evident in her engaging lessons. Her students are held to a high standard of achievement and delight in the many ways she presents them to interact with literacy, from using technology to enjoying theme packs and even becoming involved in the writing process and entering the Iowa Reading Association’s writing contest. Wendy has even been a successful recruiter, bringing colleagues into her local council. Congratulations to Wendy and to Midlands of Iowa!

Wendy Matson was nominated by the Midlands of Iowa Reading Council.
Iowa Reading Administrator of the Year Carol Duehr has been selected as the 2016 Iowa Reading Administrator of the Year. Carol was nominated by her local council, READ. Carol wears many hats in education, and her level of commitment both READ and Iowa Reading are the reasons she was chosen as this year’s winner. For many years, Carol has offered to teach a class that coincides with her council’s meeting times, which has been an enormous help in recruiting new members and keeping membership at such a high level. Carol has held many different teaching positions, but she recently took a leadership position within her school district’s Title I program. Carol is an instrumental leader and support for the teachers within that program. It is easy to see how Carol has touched the lives of so many through her many roles in literacy. She has been a strong supporter of teachers and students alike, quick to offer a helping hand or an effective suggestion when anyone comes to her with a literacy question. She is always happy to take the time and assist her colleagues and never backs down from a challenge. Congratulations to Carol, Iowa Reading’s Administrator of the Year 2016!

Carol Duehr was nominated by the READ Council (Reading Educators of Dubuque).

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
- Rosa Parks

2017 Iowa Reading Conference
Stephanie Laird - Iowa Reading President Elect and 2017 Conference Chair

I hope you had a summer full of relaxation and professional growth. For those of you who attended our 2016 conference, I hope you share your learnings and journey with colleagues and with Iowa Reading using #iareads. In addition to sharing how you impact literacy in your classroom, I invite you to attend the 2017 Iowa Reading Conference which will be held on June 27-28 at Scheman Hall at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Our conference theme is “Dive into Reading” and as you begin a new school year, I encourage you to dive in one of our two statewide book studies this year.

Reciprocal Teaching at Work:Powerful Strategies and Lessons for Improving Reading Comprehension, Second Edition by Lori Oczkus has been selected as one of our 2016-2017 statewide book studies. This expanded edition of the bestseller Reciprocal Teaching at Work, provides additional solutions for teaching comprehension. Throughout the book, Oczkus shares new ways to use reciprocal teaching to improve students comprehension while actively engaging them in learning. Lori will be speaking at the 2017 Iowa Reading Conference in June.

After hearing Layne speak at the 2016 conference, we had several conference attendees ask us to add his book to our book study offerings, and we’re happy to share that our second 2016-2017 statewide book study is In Defense of Read-Aloud by Steven Layne. In Defense of Read-Aloud reinforces readers' confidence to continue the practice of reading aloud and presents the research base to defend the practice in grades K-12. Steven Layne also offers significant practical insights to strengthen instructional practice-answering the questions of "Why should we?" and "How should we?"-and provides practical advice about how to use read-alouds most effectively.

Visit the Iowa Reading website for more information on the book studies and to register for the 2017 conference as we “Dive into Reading!”

Book Studies Available for Recertification and Graduate Credit
Clark Goltz, Executive Director

The Iowa Reading Association is again offering two book studies for its members for graduate or recertification credit.  The first book study is Reciprocal Teaching at Work by Lori Oczkus.
Book summary for Reciprocal Teaching at Work from  Reciprocal teaching is a technique based on teacher modeling, student participation, and four strategies that good readers use to comprehend text: predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing. Although reciprocal teaching originally was designed for use with struggling readers, author Lori D. Oczkus offers innovative lessons aimed at improving the reading comprehension of all students. Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension provides a practical classroom resource on reciprocal teaching that readers will find accessible and engaging. Each of these chapters offers scaffolded lessons, minilessons, and reproducible forms for classroom teachers to use with students, and reflection questions for staff development. The appendixes provide a list of what teachers should observe when students work with the reciprocal teaching strategies, a student self-assessment for strategy usage, and instructions for conducting informal assessment interviews with students. This book will benefit classroom teachers and reading specialists working primarily with students in grades 2–6, and teacher educators, school administrators, and staff developers seeking successful reading comprehension strategies to share with teachers.
You must be registered for this class by Friday, October 14, 2016 and be a current member of the Iowa Reading Association.  You need three or more people in a book study group to complete this book study. You will need 15 “face-to-face” hours of contact and an additional 30 hours of “out of class” hours.

Each group must appoint a contact person who is responsible for submitting the Verification/Attendance Sheet for the Introduction and each of the subsequent chapters in a timely manner. The instructor will send a confirmation back to the contact person for your group. The contact person will be responsible for forwarding the email to all members of the group. All Verification/Attendance Sheets will need the name, email address and participant signatures.  The Verification/Attendance Sheets will be accepted in print form only and should be mailed to:  Clark Goltz, Executive Director, Iowa Reading Association, P.O. Box 16, Ossian, IA  52161.

All Verification/Attendance Sheets must be submitted in order. The Introduction and Chapter #1 Verification/Attendance Sheets must be submitted not later than Monday, November 14, 2016. Each student is required to submit a 5-7 page paper that summarizes their action research, lesson designs and chapter reflections. The summary paper is due in print form on Friday, May 5, 2017. Submit your final paper to: Clark Goltz, Executive Director, Iowa Reading Association, P.O. Box 16, Ossian, IA  52161.

Registration Deadline: October 14, 2016

Plan of Action: Each study group will set their own schedule. The group must meet a minimum of 15 hours (plus 30). Sample Study Group Schedule: October 10, November 14, December 12, January 9, and February 13 (15 hours). 30 hours at school/home where participants will share out of class work, lesson designs and action research with colleagues at the next group meeting: Week of October 10-14: 8 hours, Week of November 14-18: 8 hours, Week of December 12-16: 8 hours; Week of January 9-13 hours, Week of February 13-17: 8 hours.

The second book study, In Defense of the Read-Aloud by Steve Payne, will be available for registration on Friday, October 14, and will follow a similar format.
Book summary for In Defense of the Read-Aloud from ‘Amidst the clanging noise of today's technology, Steven Layne offers here a clear clarion call on behalf of reading to children. It is insightful, reasoned, entertaining (rare in the field), and carefully researched for those who might doubt the urgent need for something that doesn't need a Wi-Fi hot spot. It should be on every teacher's must-read list.'   Jim Trelease, author, The Read-Aloud Handbook. As accountability measures for schools and teachers continue to grow, instructional practice is under the microscope. The practice of reading aloud to children may be viewed by some educators as an extra a bit of fluff used solely for the purposes of enjoyment or filling a few spare minutes, but researchers and practitioners stand in solidarity: the practice of reading aloud throughout the grades is not only viable but also best practice. 

In Defense of Read-Aloud reinforces readers confidence to continue the practice of reading aloud and presents the research base to defend the practice in grades K 12. Steven Layne also offers significant practical insights to strengthen instructional practice answering the questions of 'Why should we?' and 'How should we?' and provides practical advice about how to use read-alouds most effectively. In Defense of Read-Aloud features many great recommendations of books to share with children. Read-aloud is an essential practice in teaching literacy in grades K 12. In this book, Steven Layne has provided everything needed to support, sustain, and celebrate the power of read-aloud.
Watch the Iowa Reading Association website for registration details for In Defense of the Read-Aloud in mid-October.

"Dreamt" is the only word in the English language that ends in the letters "mt".

Nancy's Nuggets - News from the State Coordinator
By Nancy Wright, State Coordinator

Leadership Workshop:

The 2016 Leadership Workshop – Dive Into Reading -- was held in Ames on June 27 at the Gateway Hotel.  The workshop kicked off with the installation of the presidents of the local reading councils.  At the time of the Leadership Workshop, we had thirteen local councils, with representatives from eleven of those councils at the workshop.  The day was filled with information and fun, as the state committee chairs and board members shared the latest on their committee areas:  Merit Council, Creative Writing and Poetry Contests, International Project, Awards, Karla Bronzynski Scholarship, Technology & Literacy Grant, Grow-A-Local-Council Grant, Membership, Nominations, Bylaws-Policies & Procedures, and the 2017 state conference Program.

The state board members put their best foot forward as they performed “Watch Me Read”, to the tune of “Whip, Nae, Nae”.  Lunch included a presentation by author “Buck Wilder” (aka Timothy Smith).  Tim and his wife generously presented everyone with a copy of one of the Buck Wilder adventure books!

Council officers received a list of possible speakers to utilize as they had time to plan for their own council meetings during the afternoon.  One of the high points of the workshop came late in the afternoon as well-known author and literacy researcher Regie Routman joined us for a question & answer session!  Regie encouraged us to keep doing what we know is best for our students as they learn to read and to write.

Honor Councils:

Two of our local councils, Hardy Reading Council and Eastern Iowa Reading Council, have achieved Honor Council Status again this year.  The International Literacy Association presented the councils their awards at the July 8 ILA Awards ceremony in Boston.  Eastern Iowa has been named an Honor Council 18 years, and Hardy has been an Honor Council 32 years!  To earn the Honor Council designation, these councils submitted artifacts through the ILA online application that demonstrated their council’s work in developing and carrying out well-rounded programs serving the council members, the community, the state association and the ILA.  Congratulations to both reading councils – we are proud of you!

Award of Excellence:

The Iowa Reading Association received its 25th Award of Excellence on July 8 in Boston at the ILA Awards ceremony.  The Award of Excellence is given to state and provincial associations that have distinguished themselves through organizing and implementing a wide range of programs and activities in their state or province that (a) serve and support councils and members, (b) contribute to education, and (c) coincide with and support the programs and goals of the Association.  Thank you to all the reading councils and their leaders, as well as our Iowa Reading officers and board members for making this 25th Award of Excellence possible!

Kick Start Grant:

A few months ago, Diane Bean, the Director of Membership Development for the Iowa Reading Association, conceived a plan to help local reading councils to get the word out about their council activities.  The state officers and board members of Iowa Reading approved the new “Kick Start Grant” which gets off the ground this month.  Any local council who prints and distributes a flyer to spread the news about their 2016-2017 meeting schedule is eligible for a $100 grant to cover the cost of printing and distribution.  Flyers must include:
  • A minimum of 4 meetings listed on the flyer with the subject, location, date and time.
  • Names and email addresses of the council officers
  • Information on the state-wide Book Study sponsored by Iowa Reading
  • A list of special projects the council does (i.e. writing contests, literacy service projects)
  • Something must be attached to the flyer to make people stop and look at it for a minute:
    • “Chews” to join our council – attach a stick of gum
    • It makes “cents” to join our council – attach a penny
    • Be creative!
  • Flyers are to be distributed by September 8, 2016 – but an extension can be granted by contacting Diane Bean, Membership Director at


Local council presidents --  send your 2016-2017 meeting schedule to me (Nancy Wright) right away so we can post it on the “Council Links” page of the Iowa Reading website!  Email your council schedule to
Reminder!  If you have not yet filed your 990-N tax form, please do so by the November 15, 2016 due date.  All councils and state associations that have a tax identification number, also known as an EIN, should file an information return with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for the tax year that ends June 30, 2015.  Instructions on Completing IRS Form 990-N.doc
"Peter was not in school yesterday due to problems with his vowels."

Membership Matters
By Diane Bean, Director of Membership Development

During the last school year, I was able to visit all of our local reading councils except one.   There were so many fascinating programs to participate in and many dedicated Iowa Reading members to meet.  As I was driving back from western Iowa (a five hour drive!), I realized that we needed a better way to get the word out about our great local meetings.  That was when the Kickstart Grant was conceived!  We are offering a grant to our local councils (mostly to cover printing costs) so that they can afford to send a printed newsletter that lists information on their meetings, has a list of their local officers, and tells about the Iowa Reading Association book study (for 1 hour credit).  My council sends out over 700 newsletters at the beginning of the year, but I'm sure some councils will start a little smaller.  I am beginning to get the some of the grant applications turned in and am excited for the year ahead!  Let's have all of the councils share their plans for the coming year-both with these newsletters and on the website (by sending them to Nancy Wright at  Have a great school year!
Diane Bean
Director of Membership Development

Strategy Corner - Fluency Flags
By Kathleen Konrardy, READ Council

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils in the air signals the start of another wonderful school year!  After a relaxing summer of vacationing, spending time with family and friends, or just kicking back with a good book, teachers are ready to begin anew and execute all those great ideas added to our Pinterest Boards over the last three months.  What better time than the beginning of a new school year to think about implementing a great new literacy routine?  The idea I’m sharing with you this month is called “Fluency Flags”, and is an idea that was given to me by the staff at my AEA during a literacy workshop I attended last year.  This idea is targeted to work on reading fluency, and is a research-based practice that has been shown to have a significant positive impact on students’ fluency.

This fluency routine is easy to implement and takes very little prep work on the part of the teacher.  It involves choosing a reading passage that every student in your class will be able to read independently, so choose an at-grade level passage, or one slightly below grade level.  If there are some words you think your students will struggle with, the passage may still be workable because there is an element of support that you will provide during the introduction.  This routine can be done daily, but for maximum benefit should be done not less than three times a week. 

On day one, you will introduce the week’s passage.  Begin by choosing a sentence to display and model for your class.  Be intentional about your sentence choice; here is where you can provide scaffolding if the passage has a difficult word, or you may choose a passage with a specific skill you wish to target, such as commas or quotation marks.  Model the sentence for your class with excellent fluency and prosody.  Your students are now ready to try it on their own.  Your entire class will whisper read or quietly read (not silently read) for one minute while you circulate.  At the end of one minute, students mark their last word (perhaps with a post-it flag—hence the name!), count words read, and graph this on a fluency data page.  You then choose another sentence to display and model, perhaps farther into the passage, and students re-read the passage, starting from the beginning.  After a minute, they mark their last word read.  There is a final round of sentence preview followed by a one minute-timed reading, and students mark their final word.  Students should already begin to see an increase in reading fluency, and this generally will motivate them to keep practicing!  This routine is repeated throughout the week, and on the final day of the week, students will mark their final reading on their fluency graphs.  They love to see the progress they’ve made, and over the course of a year you will see it as well!

As you get rolling and get comfortable with this routine, it should take no more than 5-6 minutes of your day.  Printable grade leveled passages are readily accessible on the internet, but the options are endless!  You can choose a passage from a classroom novel that you’re reading, or even a passage from a content area textbook.  The important thing to remember about this (or any) routine is that in order to give the greatest impact, these routines should be done regularly, so find a way to build it into your classroom schedule.  Some teachers in my building found great success with this routine by making it the opener to their literacy blocks.  Others were able to fit this in right before or after lunch.  However you decide to structure it, Fluency Flags can be a fun way to practice reading fluency, and a simple routine you can add to your classroom schedule this week!
"If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right."
- Henry Ford

International Service Project - Africa Reads
By Chairperson:  Kelly Neumann, READ Council

Africa Reads is a non-profit organization that was started in 2008 by Ken Stamatis and Harding University in Arkansas. The primary aim of Africa Reads is to partner with schools and educators in the country of Rwanda.
Africa Reads has three main goals to accomplish in Rwanda. 
  1. They want to support the teachers.
  2. They want to assist in the teaching of English.
  3.  They want to make sure the students have access to books.
Our Co-Presidents decided Africa Reads was a great way for the Iowa Reading Council to continue our work overseas.

Please use the gift bags received at the Leadership meeting to collect your donations.  The gift bags represent the gift of reading that we are giving to the students of Rwanda.

Just For Me
By Mary Daughetee, READ Council and Zone C Director

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Did you know that reading Historical Fiction could be fun and interesting? Diana Gabaldon has written a series of eight books beginning with Outlander, and each one is as riveting as the next. The series begins in 1945, with Claire Randall and her husband reconnecting after spending time apart during WWII. Claire unsuspectedly walks through a standing stone that catapults her back in time to Scotland, 1743.

Thrown back in time, Claire encounters Highland clans, warriors and Jamie Fraser. She finds herself face to face with Jack Randall, an evil hearted man. Jack is a descendent with an uncanny resemblance to her husband, Frank. While the story unfolds, one learns of the Jacobite rising of 1745, and the Battle of Culloden. As the series continues, the story moves to America, where many Scottish Highlanders immigrated…

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

Nomination News - Board Position Openings for 2017
By Megan Benson, Nomination Chair
The Iowa Reading Association is seeking fun, energetic, literacy-loving individuals to serve on the board.  Iowa Reading is made up of teachers, like you, who desire to organize opportunities for teaching professionals.  Each year, new leaders for the Board are recruited to replace those whose terms expire.  This year the following offices are open: Vice-President, Zone G, Zone H, Zone I Directors.  If you have a desire to work with other teaching peers from around the state, please apply.  Nomination forms can be found on the Iowa Reading website under “Forms/Grants”.  Information about the officers’ duties can also be found on the site under “About Us” in the handbook.  Clark Goltz, Executive Director, and Nancy White, Iowa Reading President, are also excellent sources for information.  This is a winning team with exceptional professional goals for teachers and students!

"Fall" into a Good Book
By Janet O'Bleness. Keokuk Community Schools

With the recent resurgence of the importance of play for children, I am encouraging these picture books to ‘play’ with your students during your read alouds!  Hope you ‘fall’ for some of these……

To play with imagination-
The Typewriter by Bill Thomson is a minimal word picture book  with using visual storytelling that invites the reader to imagine the words they might type on a typewriter to create a story.    Students could make a list of things they might want to write about and create an illustration to support these.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires explores the joys and frustrations of creating the most magnificent thing!  A definite read for all those inventors and entrepreneurs out there!
On the Ball by Brian Pinkney shares the adventure of keeping one’s eye on the ball as it escapes.  Owen attempts to get the ball back so he can play the game he loves.
Yes Day! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a story about what everyone dreams of-a day where ALL requests are answered by YES!  Just imagine the student writings with lists of questions they create, or questions that are all answered with a NO!
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie shares the boy’s displeasure of his name and wanting a name that “sounds like me”.  He plays with a variety of names that reflect his interests until he finally finds the one.  Students could then create a list of possible new names of their own.
To play with movement….
Stretch by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin bring a stretch guide that could begin a classroom’s routine each morning. 
To play with music….
Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin brings back Duck and his friends.  This time they are competing in the talent show at the county Fair.   Raise your voice in song with the popular songs melodies using animal sounds.
The Nuts at Bedtime by Eric Litwin  chronicles the eternal routine of children not wanting to go to bed and the parents attempts to make it go smoothly.  Visit his website to hear the song and soon it will be in your (and your students’) head!
To play with punctuation… yes, there is a book that does this!
Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld plays with the exclamation mark and the question mark and the period. 
To play with friends……
My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann shares the friendship between one that gets into trouble while the other friend is there to support their friend’s ideas.
How to Share with a Bear by Eric Pinder begins with Thomas creating a warm, cozy cave to read in.  Something big decides to join him.  Thomas attempts to get the bear out of his cave until he finally decides to let his little brother, the bear, read with him.
Frankie Stein Starts School by Lola M. Schaefer is a story about a boy who is beginning school and looks very different from his classmates.  He shows that he can be as scary as the rest of the students. 
Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a look at friendship and how one acts as a friend.
Be sure to make some time to find a book that you can ’play’ with just for you!
The longest one syllable word in the English language is "screeched".

Memorials for Iowa Reading
By Michelle Swanson, Iowa Reading Association Treasurer and member of NWIRC

The Karla Bronzynski Scholarship and the Ty Kruger Memorial Fund
Karla was an active and dedicated member of Iowa Reading, serving on the Executive Board for many years as President, Treasurer, and Zone Director.  We lost Karla in 2014, and as a memorial in her honor, the Karla Bronzynski Scholarship was formed.  Each year, members of Iowa Reading can apply for one of the two $250 scholarships.  The funds are used to purchase books for classroom use. "Mrs. Bronzynski Just Loved and Loved and Loved Books".
Ty was the husband of Lynette Kruger.  Lynette, too, is a dedicated member of Iowa Reading, serving on the Executive Board for many years as Membership Director.  Ty passed away in 2009.  One neat thing Lynette recalls, connecting Ty to Iowa Reading, was that he got the local John Deere dealership to donate a child’s tractor for a give-a-way, during the past Conference farm theme of Cultivating Literacy.  “He was good at talking people into things!” Each year, educators may apply for one of six $50 Technology/Literacy grants in memory of Ty Kruger.

Because these honored and fluid memorials help support literacy in Iowa classrooms, your monetary donations of even a small gift are very valuable.  Please make your checks out to The Iowa Reading Association, with a memo noted to the memorial of your choosing.  These may be sent to Clark Goltz, Executive Director, P.O. Box 16, Ossian, IA 52161.

Thank you!
Michelle Swanson, NWIRC
State Treasurer/Budget Manager

By Deb Mortensen, NWIRC and state Secretary

I hope you had a chance to attend the Iowa Reading Conference this past June. If not, you missed 2 packed days of literacy workshops. I was asked to present two sessions and had so much fun with a new presentation about songs I use in the music classroom to reinforce literacy concepts. Picture in my music room, a carpeted area with puppets and pocket charts. Picture books that children love to read/sing. Picture props that help with sequencing a particular song. Picture songs on large paper with photos to reinforce concepts especially for the many ELL learners at our school. As the music teacher, I strive to include print awareness skills, content area learning and music literacy in every lesson I teach. Attached you will find my presentation handout. I hope there is a song that you can print out for your students and use tomorrow. Talk about words, beginning sounds, rhyme, sound substitution… even consider rewriting a song or two with your students. I would love to hear how these songs are used in classrooms across the state of Iowa! Take time to sing a song today! (Your students will thank you for it!)

Council Corner: Jefferson- Van Buren Reading Council
By Renee Thomas, Zone I Director

Located in southeast Iowa, the Jefferson-Van Buren Reading Council serves the Fairfield, Van Buren, Maharishi, Pekin, and Cardinal school districts. If you live or teach in the Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant, Harmony, or Washington, we would love to have you join us. Our meetings are regularly scheduled for the second Wednesday of the month to be held at the Walton Club. JVBRC has participated in the state wide book studies since the inception of the book studies and is looking forward to this year’s book. Pinterest, dyslexia awareness, a local author, 95% group are just a few of the programs we will welcome in 2016-17. At this past summer’s conference, two of us took tickets at the Thursday luncheon.  Patti Johnston, a long-time member, is gearing up for her second year as president and has a strong executive council to back her up.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

Iowa Children's Choice Awards
By Rebecca Pashek, Zone E Director, Dallas County Reading Council

Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
11-year-old Gaby, a sixth grader at St. Ann’s, is trying to deal with her mother’s recent deportation to Honduras. When the factory where Gaby’s mother was working was swiftly raided, Gaby’s undocumented mother was taken away, and Gaby’s undependable father moves in to take care of her. Gaby begins taking care of herself and her father while facing taunts of “illegal” and “alien” at school. Her one saving grace is that her class takes a long-term service project at the Furry Friends animal shelter, which Gaby loves. Gaby learns about “life” through the animals she is trying to save. Alma, her best friend, and Alma’s family also help Gaby face the truth of her mother’s deportation and the depth of her mother’s love.
Realistic Fiction – Interest level: 4-8Lexile: 640 - Reading level: 4.1
Illegal immigration – animal shelters – family life – volunteer work

What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark
Middle-schooler River lives with his Aunt Bernie outside the town of Cheshire.  River and his two friends, Freak and Fiona, find a discarded sofa at the bus stop. They think the sofa is just a discarded piece of furniture from the old Underhill mansion until they discover the “junk” between the cushions, including a zucchini-colored crayon, holds the key to saving the world from an evil invader from another dimension. This intergalactic plot to take over the earth features spontaneous flash mobs, smoldering coal fires in the abandoned mines beneath the town, artificial intelligence in furniture, and even an elderly axe-wielding ghost. This is a humorous, science fiction adventure that will keep you wondering what will come next!
Author was a Mad Magazine contributor – style comes through
Science Fiction/Fantasy - Interest level: 3-6 - Lexile: 730 – Reading level 5.1 – F&P: W
Humorous – (good examples of fantasy and science fiction genres) – Eccentrics

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Half-Korean, 10-year-old New Yorker, Albie, is beginning fifth grade in a new school. He has been kicked out of his fancy prep school because of low grades, which means he will be leaving his “forever” friend, Erlan, behind. Albie faces a bully at school, a mom and dad who cannot understand him, and a grandpa that only has belittling remarks.  Fortunately for Albie, he finds a friend in a fellow outcast, Betsy, who has a stutter. He also gets a new babysitter, Calista, who likes him for who he is. Calista takes him to art exhibits and out for donuts.  She even understands that sometimes it’s okay to have a “sad day” away from school – which unfortunately leads to her dismissal. The chapters are short, some just one page, and readers will love the reference to Albie’s love of the Captain Underpants book series. This book shows a heartfelt portrait of a child searching for nothing more than a safe place to thrive.

Realistic Fiction – Interest level: 3-6 – Lexile: 750 – Reading level: 5.1
Self-esteem - family life - school stories – bullying – friendship – racially mixed families

"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world"
- Nelson Mandela

Calendar Reminders
By Deb Mortensen, State Secretary and newsletter editor, Zone D


  • “Grow a Local Council” Grant applications due to Nancy Wright, September 1, 2016
  • “Kick Start” Grant Applications due to Diane Bean and Michelle Swanson, September 8, 2016
  • Iowa Reading Association Executive Board Meeting, Saturday, September 10, 2016, 10:00 a.m. Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Iowa Reading Association Board Meeting, Saturday, October 15, 2016, 10:00 a.m. Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Iowa Reading Association “Technology and Literacy” Grant due to Renee Thomas*, December 16, 2016
  • Nominations for state officers due, January 1, 2017, to Megan Benson*
  • Board of Directors Meeting, Saturday, January 14, 2017, 10:00 a.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames (Snow Date January 21)
  • Executive Board Meeting, Saturday, January 14, 2017, 1:00 p.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames (Snow Date January 21)
  • Creative Writing and Poetry entries due on February 14, 2017 to Marlene Reece/Rebecca Pashek*
  • Award nominations (Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Iowa Service and Celebrate Literacy) are due on February 15, 2017 to Kathleen Konrardy*
  • Applications for Karla Bronzynski Reading Scholarship due April 1, 2017 to Lori Vicker*
  • Board of Directors Meeting, Saturday April 8, 2017, 10:00 a.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Executive Board Meeting, Saturday, April 9, 2017, 1:00 p.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Merit Council applications due on May 1, 2017 to Lois Van Houwelingen*
  • Book Studies should be completed by May 6, 2017. Questions? Clark Goltz, Executive Director*
  • Executive Board Meeting, Saturday, May 13, 2017, 10:00 a.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Board of Directors Retreat, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 3:00 p.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Board of Directors Meeting, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 5:00 p.m, Pizza Ranch, Ames
  • Leadership Workshop, Monday, June 26, 2017 at 10:00 a.m, The Hotel at Gateway, Ames
  • Iowa Reading Association Conference, June 27-28, 2017, Scheman Conference Center, Iowa State University, Ames
  • Iowa Reading Association Board Meeting, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 5:00 p.m. at  Scheman Conference Center, ISU, Ames
  • International Literacy Association 62nd Annual Convention, Orlando, FL., July 15-17, 2017
*All contact information is found on the Iowa Reading Association website
Our mailing address is: Iowa Reading Association | P.O. Box 16 | Ossian, IA 52161

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Iowa Reading Association · P.O. Box 16 · Ossian, IA 52161 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp