Secondary Reading League

Leaders for Literacy in Grades 6-12

Winter 2017

Current 2017-2018 SRL Events

*More information will follow

Success at Day of Reading Conference

SRL Member Experience

I always look forward to attending the Day of Reading conferences because I know that I will be able to bring back tangible strategies and ideas to my classroom. Penny Kittle did not disappoint as she began her workshop emphasizing that students need to practice reading and writing everyday to increase their stamina. This is supported by the infographic she shared: During their first year of college, students can expect to complete 5,000 pages of reading, 90-100 polished essay pages, 12 position papers, 6 presentations, 8 exams, 75 text based discussions, 6 lab reports, and 21 problem sets. Due to this volume of work, students in the United States are not prepared as we have the highest college dropout rate in the world.

In addition, Penny Kittle shared the four things teachers should do to empower readers and writers: Volume, Choice, Modeling, and Feedback. Through pictures, videos, and student samples, she provided concrete examples of how teachers can empower their own students. These models also demonstrated the extraordinary rapport Ms. Kittle has with her students.

Regarding my own teaching practice, I left the conference rejuvenated and excited to implement new practices. I have modified how individual reading conferences are conducted in my classroom. Through Ms. Kittle’s suggested questions such as: When and how much are you reading? and How can I support you?, I can help individual students find an independent reading novel that they will enjoy. I am also modeling my reading behaviors through a book recommendation bulletin board, discussing books that I am currently reading, and sharing stories about my own neighborhood book club. As I work with the Title I aides in our Literacy department, I have shared Penny Kittle’s research that reinforces the importance of our fluency interventions because “fluent readers are consistently fluent writers.”

I continue to learn from Penny Kittle as I refer back to the shared notes that we contributed to during the workshop and from her book that I purchased, Book Love. As a high school Literacy teacher, it is difficult to find age appropriate workshops and conferences, as they typically focus on elementary level students. However, the Day of Reading has consistently provided worthwhile professional development and I plan to bring more colleagues with me next year.

Jen Black-Foltin

Literacy Department

East Leyden High School

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SRL Awards 2017 Literacy Grants

Each year, the Secondary Reading League supports innovative literacy projects of its members through the SRL Grant Program. This year’s grant recipients were announced at the 41st Day of Reading Conference on November 10, 2017.

After a thorough review and rigorous scoring process, three grants tied, earning a possible 66 out of 72 available points. Rather than split the tie in some manner to award the two available grants, the SRL Executive Board voted unanimously to award three grants for 2017. Grant recipients use the $500 grant to support literacy projects in their classrooms and/or schools. Each of this year’s projects will be featured in depth in a future SRL newsletter.

The 2017 SRL Literacy Grant recipients and projects are:

Real Men Read, Diane DeSoto, Thornton Fractional North High School

Real Men Read is a project designed to address the reading habits adolescent males to connect them with reading MENtors, and to promote reading as a thing that real men do as a way to relax, to escape, to imagine, to connect, and/or to empower themselves.

Creating Agile Writers and Informed Citizens, Jessica Thomas, Metea Valley HS (Picture Below on Right)

Using Book clubs as the impetus for student writing about contemporary issues outside of our students’ everyday promoting reading about myriad cultures and contemporary issues that create much of the rhetoric we see in society.

Just because we can..., Cindi Koudelka, Fieldcrest Middle School (Picture Below on Left)

Using multiple literacies and digital storytelling to explore the relationship between freedom and responsibility? The project will focus on argumentative writing skills, critical literacy while reading, and using new literacies with an understanding of the ethics involved in 21st century reading and writing.

Information for the 2018 SRL Grant Program will be available in Spring 2018, with the 2018 awardees announced at the 42nd Day of Reading Conference, featuring Cris Tovani. Information will be available at the SRL web site

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SRL Awards Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Next year, the Secondary Reading League will celebrate its 50th year as Illinois’ premier adolescent literacy organization. With that important anniversary in sight, the SRL Executive Board has sought to recognize those individuals that have contributed to the success of the organization.

As a means of recognizing those luminaries of adolescent literacy, SRL has announced the recipient of the SRL’s LIfetime Achievement Award. The SRL Executive Board created the Lifetime Achievement Award as an avenue to recognize and thank those individuals that have been instrumental in the success of SRL over the years. The inaugural recipient of the SRL Lifetime Achievement Award is Liz Strejcek.

Liz has been a member of SRL since 1979, marking 38 years of continuous membership. During her four decades of active membership, Liz has held every SRL Executive Board position, each of them more than once and several of them simultaneously.

As President during some dark days when the future of SRL was in doubt, Liz grew the membership from 30 people to over 100 members, bringing a level of professional enthusiasm and stability to the organization.

Liz’s efforts helped to revive the Day of Reading Conference in 2002 after a ten-year hiatus. Since working to resurrect the conference, she has served continuously on the Conference Steering Committee through this year’s successful event. Barb Chrz-White said, "As the Day of Reading chairperson, I've always known, no matter what the project, I could count on Liz's support and active contribution to complete the tasks. I've appreciated her friendship and collegiality for many years."

At the announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Day of Reading Conference, past-President Terry McHugh said, “SRL has been a priority in Liz’s life and in her teaching. She has built life-long personal and professional relationships in SRL and on behalf of SRL. Today’s successful event, with over 200 attendees, is due in large part to Liz’s work making SRL a strong and vibrant organization.”