Secondary Reading League

Leaders for Literacy in Grades 6-12

Back to School Special 2017

Current 2017-2018 SRL Events

  • SRL Strand at the IRC Conference, Peoria – October 5-6, 2017
  • Fall Book Talk at the Book Stall, Winnetka, IL – October 14, 2017
  • 41st Day of Reading, Tinley Park – November 10, 2017 – Penny Kittle Workshop
  • Spring Book Talk, Lou Malnati’s/Anderson’s Book Store, Naperville – April 25, 2018

*More information will follow

Fall Book Talk Information

We all know that the greatest way to influence our students to become lifelong readers is to introduce them to and provide access to books that will engage them, so you are cordially invited to the Secondary Reading League's first professional development and social event of the 2017-18 school year. Please join us at The Book Stall in Winnetka on October 14th from 9:30-11:00 for an opportunity to hear about the latest and most popular YA books and purchase any books at a 20% discount afterward. Coffee and a variety of muffins and croissants from Peet's Coffee and Tea will be served at 9:30, and the Book Talk will begin punctually at 10:00. The morning will also include collegial conversation, a preview of other upcoming SRL events, and prize drawings.

Online invitations will be sent out soon so you electronically sign up and pay in advance no later than Saturday, October 7th so that enough seats can be arranged and refreshments ordered. Feel free to bring a friend! The cost is $7 for SRL Member and $10 for non-members.

Sign up online here:

So that we can personalize this Book Talk, please let us know if there are any specific genres, topics, themes, conflicts, etc. that you would appreciate the presenter considering when choosing which books to highlight. Just e-mail these requests to SRL president-elect Erik Borne at before October 7th. Also direct any questions you may have about this event to Erik.

Hope to see you there!

Also, look forward to the Spring YA Book Talk in association with Anderson's at Lou Malnati's in Naperville on April 25th!

Day of Reading Update

41st Day of Reading

November 10, 2017

For forty-nine years, the Secondary Reading League and Day of Reading Steering Committee have been committed to providing the best professional development possible to you, its membership, and all adolescent literacy educators in the state of Illinois.

We have followed your needs, your interests, and your requests.

With the help of the evaluations you’ve completed for us, after the 33rd Day of Reading, in 2009, we heeded your request for more time with featured literacy specialists. So, we incorporated a preconference into the Day of Reading beginning in 2010. Our two-day conference was born.

Over the past few years, Saturday attendance has declined, and expenses have become more than our income. Because of this, we must, once again, revise the format of the 41st Day of Reading conference. It will be held on Friday, November 10, 2017, featuring a full-day workshop with adolescent literacy specialist, Penny Kittle. Penny will be presenting her workshop in the same space as the preconference has been at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Once again, you have spoken, and we have listened.

Because the Saturday conference format (breakout sessions with local educators) was popular with some of our membership, SRL will be providing this format at future SRL events.

As per past practice, SRL members will have the first opportunity to register for the 41st Day of Reading, in August, 2017. We look forward to seeing you there. Registration will be limited to available space.

Thanks for your support through the years.

Barb Chrz-White, Day of Reading Chairperson

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Book Talk

YA Novel to Read

The Hate You Give

Written by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by Renee Yunker

I had an opportunity to read this novel after seeing a post on Instagram. This is the author's first novel and she made an amazing debut with this story. The novel follows the main character, 16 year old, Starr Carter while she struggles to balance two worlds. During the day she goes to a wealthy prep school, but at night she goes home to a poor neighborhood. Very rarely do these two worlds collide until her childhood friend, Khalil, was shot by a police officer. Khalil was unarmed and Starr is the only witness. Follow her story and the tough decisions she has to make as her two worlds collide together. Another part I love is that this novel is being turned into a film.

Professional Development Resource

Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers

Written by Penny Kittle

Reviewed by Patti Tylka

“This is a love story,” begins Penny Kittle, a teacher and reading specialist. What Kittle loves is getting students reading; she believes “every student needs to know the power of a reading life.” In Book Love, Kittle uses personal stories and metaphors to defend her belief that current teaching practices in English classrooms contribute to students’ lack of progress in reading and to describe how she successfully implements independent reading in her school district.

Kittle’s experience gives her the conviction that “teenagers want to read—if you let them.” She has found that independent reading allows students to build the background and the stamina they need to tackle reading requirements of college and life. Her practice includes conducting book talks and helping students to choose books, set goals and develop a reading habit. “We own a reader’s improvement in the year we have them,” she says, and she begins this improvement by requiring—no excuses—that students read two hours or more outside of class and expecting them to read 25 books during the year.

Book Love focuses on what Kittle has learned about managing, sustaining, and building students’ independent reading life. She explains how she creates a classroom and school community of readers, including how she generates curiosity about books, how she develops a reading relationship with students, what she includes in book talks, how she uses independent reading time during class to get to know and motivate non-readers, what she focuses on during reading conferences, how she incorporates writing and text study into her reading classroom, and how she manages recordkeeping and grading. According to Kittle, “No kid should pass English any year without reading dozens of books.” Teachers interested in moving students beyond reading (or pretend-reading) only a few whole-class books a year will find Book Love both inspirational and practical. She models what she says and does; she also provides transcripts of student conversation and artifacts of student work. Of her own life, Kittle says, “Reading saved me,” and her mission is to help reading take students “across the world on a journey of thought.”

Book Love, published in 2013, will be available for purchase at the 41st Day of Reading from Heinemann. Then, get your copy autographed by Penny.

Please email with any suggestions for young adult novels or professional development resources that you would like featured.

Membership Updates Needed

Please contact our Membership Chair, Angela Kalat at if you have a change of address, phone, name, or email address. We want to keep our information as current as possible.

Meet the Board