Fox Valley Reading Council

Winter Newsletter/December 2018

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A letter from our Presidents

From Your Co-Presidents: Camille Lutz & Dawn Lutz:

As the season of giving is upon us, we hope you are relaxing, enjoying a good book, AND thinking of how to best increase your professional skills to give more to your students. Luckily, we can help you with that as we prepare for our Winter Conference at Judson University on Feb. 23. We are excited to join with Judson as we offer many topics for grades K-12! Be sure to register here.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with author Cris Tovani! If you are a middle or high school teacher and know about Cris, then you know my day was filled with inspiration! It was so exciting to have her share her knowledge and give me new ideas for my classroom the very next day. (Camille)

In my 3rd grade classroom, a seasonal writing topic we use is _____lights up my life... I love to see who the children pick and what they have to say about that person. It is great for informational writing with three facts given about the main idea. Conclusions are tricky, too, as many students are still learning to use a conclusion sentence to finish up their writing. I think the favorite starter is, "Now you know..." (Dawn)

Have a wonderful holiday season! YOU, our Fox Valley colleagues, light up our lives!

Volunteer! It feels good!

Looking for a rewarding experience with like-minded individuals? We need you! We are always looking for those who want to become more involved. We will also have some board openings for the next year which begin in July 2019. More to come on those positions in future newsletters. Approach one of our board members at one of our next events or email us at

Save the Date for our Winter Mini-Conference at Judson University!

When? Saturday, February 23rd 8am-12pm

Where? Judson University, Creekside South building

What? A mini-conference all about upgrading and enhancing your teaching of literacy. We will be offering three sessions to your morning. Choose your own PD! Learn from other teachers like you! Feed your brain!

Register below by clicking on the link and learn more about the sessions.

Book Corner

Professional Book Recommendation

As I mentioned in the Presidents’ letter, I had the opportunity to spend a day with Cris Tovani in November. As usual, her presentations throughout the day were thoughtful, endearing, and inspirational. Certainly, some of what she shared at the conference is found in her latest book, “No More Telling as Teaching.” Within the pages of this quick read, Tovani (and her co-writer, Elizabeth Birr Moje) share the notion that if teachers are doing all of the work student engagement will drop, and studies show high engagement leads to high achievements. These statements may make you wonder how commonly used lectures fit into this way of thinking. Tovani and Moje recognized that while lectures can be engaging and useful at times, they do not provide students real opportunities to learn, retain, and transfer the material being presented. “No More Telling as Teaching” offers readers a plan for student engagement starting with the importance of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement; and follows with a comprehensive model for generating student involvement as well as using problem-based learning in English/Language Arts classrooms.

Illinois Reads 2018 was a huge hit!

We had such a great time participating in the state-wide initiative, Illinois Reads, at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin, Illinois. Kids and their parents were able to read to service dogs, color and create super hero masks, and listen to a read aloud. We donated about $450 in books to lucky children present. Each year members of the Illinois Reads committee read and vote on books written by authors in Illinois. There are several age categories: birth-4, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and Adult. Check out this year's list and past lists as well at You can also sign up to be an ambassador for free and receive free bookmarks from all of the categories as well as posters to share with students at your school. Check it out! It is truly amazing the talent this great state of Illinois has.
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