Prairie Area Reading Council

Fall 2017 Newsletter


Dear Members of Prairie Area,

Welcome to what’s sure to be a great year for Prairie Area and YOU! We hope the dust has settled in your classroom/office/school space, and that you are enjoying work with your students.

PARC was well represented at the August Illinois Reading Council Board Meeting. Make no mistake--IRC and its affiliates include the hardest-working, most dedicated professionals in education. IRC offers so much to members. There are so many opportunities to grow your professional practice--the Annual Conference, resources on the IRC, PARC events, Wired Wednesday Webinars (facilitated by Prairie Area’s own Sheila Ruh and Sherry Sejnost), Twitter chats, support and camaraderie--it’s a great value for the money, and it’s a great organization to be a part of.

This year, we are excited to continue to provide quality programming that’s relevant to everyone who works to promote literacy in education. We hope you’ll be able to join us for all of our PARC events. From Kate Hannigan and “Identifying Fake News” in October to “Book Gossip: The Latest and Greatest in Lit” with Kathleen January, to Roxanne Owens’ “Visual Literacy” in April and IRC’s Wired Wednesday Webinars every month in between . . . there’s always a way to connect with others and strengthen your practice in ways that work for you (webinars=PD in pajamas!).

A new endeavor is our partnership with Westmont Public Library. We’re working to make community connections and support families as they support their children’s literacy development.

IRC is facing change. Our “parent affiliate,” International Literacy Association, is working to change how it delivers support to state organizations. That affects how IRC works with ILA. What does that mean for PARC? While it’s likely members won’t “feel” any change to services, our IRC leadership wants to make sure that every member’s voice is heard before action is taken. You can find information on IRC’s website. We’ll be talking about this issue at our membership meetings.

YOU are PARC, and we want to hear from and celebrate YOU! What’s going on in your classroom/office/building? How has membership in PARC helped strengthen your practice? How can we offer more of what you need to support literacy learning in your school or community? We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our events!

It’s going to be a great year in PARC!

Our best,

Sherry and Jen

Big image

Register here for events:

Kate Hannigan


Register for 2 events and get the 3rd free!

2017-2018 Board Members

Co-Presidents: Sherry Sejnost Jennifer Burisek

Vice President: Sheila Ruh

Recording Secretary: Heather Lopez

Treasurer: Melissa Love

Membership: Laura Bass

Corresponding Secretary: Nicole deVerdier

Welcome New Members!

Welcome to Prairie Area!

Our newest members:


Lisa Brough

Jennifer Egan

Rosanne Hendricks

Allison Hensen

Beth Kunesh


Meredith Demma

Laurie Ringe


Carla Axt

Rachel Druek

Allison East

Beth Gantz

Lisa Holzworth

Eugenia Koutsogiannis

Christina Melonides

Renee Mindy

Christine Rooney

Rosanne Sikich

Tameka Smith

Julie Tobin

PARC Pride

Congratulations to the Prairie Area Reading Council for receiving the International Literacy Association’s Honor Council Award for the 7th consecutive year!
Big image

Professional Reading Tips

Professionalism: A Necessary Skill for All Teachers

Dr. Roberta Sejnost

As teachers, we know that we are on an endless journey, always learning; always honing our craft. But true professional teachers are willing to do this as well as go the extra mile. Janell Cox, a frequent contributor to Teach Hub, provides some crucial elements that clearly establish what makes up a professional teacher. (

True professional teachers are adaptable. Each year, or even day, they are faced with changes. There are changes in technology, in administrations, in expectations, and even in the students they meet. Being able to adapt, sometimes at a moment’s notice, is crucial!

Next, professional teachers need to be confident, confident in themselves as well in their students, and their colleagues. When they are confident, they inspire confidence in all they meet. Furthermore, in order to be confident, professional teachers require communication skills. Since the majority of a teacher’s day is spent in communicating with others, professionals need to communicate in clear, concise terms.

As noted above, teaching is a lifelong learning process. In addition, teaching requires hard work, as well as much time and effort. Professional teachers must be willing to attend conferences, serve on committees and go that extra mile for the students who need it. All in all, professional teachers must work to truly master their craft. And, in order to accomplish all that is required to master one’s craft, professional teachers must exhibit strong organizational skills. They must be able to adroitly handle not only everyday events but also any unexpected events that often disrupt the school day. Furthermore, research tells us that organized teachers provide more effective learning environments, which, in turn leads to higher achieving students.

Finally, professional teachers are engaged. They are committed to their job, but they must also be committed to their profession. First and foremost, they must engage with their students so students clearly recognize that their teachers are dedicated to their learning. In addition, professional teachers provide engaging materials and resources for their students, and they keep up to date on new learning technologies and methodologies. Finally, they actively engage and connect with fellow teachers to collaborate, share ideas and celebrate.

Teaching is not only an art but also a science. What better way to master the art and science of teaching than to strive to become a true professional. The ideas provided by Janell Cox is the first step in doing just that.

Big image

Service Projects - Sheila Ruh

Prairie Area Reading Council and Westmont Public Library Collaborate

to Support Family Literacy

Prairie Area is pleased to be collaborating with the Westmont Public Library to support family literacy. There are many great events going on at the Westmont Public Library, and we are excited to be a part of some of them. On Friday, November 3, from 5:30-6:30 pm. the library will be transformed for Family Fort Night and PARC will be there donating books and distributing them to the children. Prairie Area Reading Council will also be providing Llama Llama bookmarks that will be given away at the Holly Days parade, Saturday, November 25th at 5 pm. Westmont Public Library is also going to have the storyteller Megan Wells featuring Grimm Tales. She will be coming to the Westmont Public Library in January and PARC is pleased to be a part of the event. We invite you to join us for some family literacy time at Westmont Public Library!

Big image

Illinois Reads Book Review: Codename Zero by Chris Rylander

Looking for an accessible read for students in grades 4-7 that’s packed with adventure, mystery, and a lesson in friendship that sneaks up on you? You’ll find it in Chris Rylander’s Codename Zero. First in the series, Codename Zero chronicles the story of Carson, the main character, who finds himself at the center of a mystery. Carson is a pretty average kid who is pretty bored with the pace of life in North Dakota. Frustrated by the feeling that, “ . . . nothing exciting ever happens here . . .” he masterminds a few pranks to make his school life more exciting. (Readers will delight in “Googling” fainting goat videos on YouTube.) Based on plot lines of James Bond, Carson has to figure out what to do with a package he’s mysteriously presented with, find people who can help him, figure out how to protect a classmate who’s in witness protection, and how to keep all of this a secret--especially from his closest friends. An unexpected delight of this story is how Carson develops a friendship with the classmate he’s assigned to protect. Students have reported that they think the book is funny, and has lots of action. Check it out for yourself!

Teaching Resources - Nicole deVerdier

Check out these websites for some fresh, new ideas to use in your classroom!

For Harry Potter fans of all ages! Check out exciting new activities every month including creative writing, quizzes, and arts and crafts.

A group of very skilled and dedicated adult LitPick underwriters generously provides feedback to student book reviewers about their reviews to help improve reading comprehension and writing skills.

High interest news articles (in Spanish and English) and videos for students grades k-12. Great for teaching nonfiction, current events, and more!

Prairie Area Reading Council

Prairie Area is a professional non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy, a love for reading and the improvement of reading instruction.