Prairie Area Reading Council

Spring 2018 Newsletter

From the Desk of the President

Dear PARC Members,

Welcome to spring! I always feel that we have our own kind of ‘March Madness’ in schools. We are celebrating the progress students have made, trying to figure out how to support our students who struggle so they have a strong finish to the year, and lamenting the lack of days off between now and the end of the year. I assure you--we are all in the best of company with our PARC colleagues.

Our April event, “I See What You’re Saying: Using Visual Images, Multiple Genre, and Varied Text Structures to Expand Literacy Engagement” with Roxanne Owens, on April 10th, will be a great way to bring best practice (and a little fun!) into your classroom for these last few weeks. We're pleased to be meeting at Maplebrook Elementary. It's a beautiful learning space. Bring a friend! Register Here

PARC elections are upon us. Thank you to members who have come forward to serve. You will be receiving a ballot in your email soon. Please vote and voice your choices for Prairie Area Reading Council’s leadership!

Spring is a time of change, and so it is with IRC. We have elected to have “limited status” with the International Literacy Association. Truly, I don't think that members will ‘feel’ a change in services to members, or benefits offered. However, the change requires local councils to amend their bylaws to ensure that if a local chapter is dissolved, chapter funds would go back to IRC, and not to ILA.

Planning your summer reading list? Consider the Illinois Reads titles. These books are written by authors with a connection to Illinois and are great choices for all ages.

Our best,

Jen Burisek and Sherry Sejnost

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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

New Members

Welcome to Prairie Area!

Our newest members:


Desta Wenzloff


Laura Wagner

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Illinois Reads Book Review

Ethan Marcus Stands Up by Michele Weber Hurwitz is a funny story that begins with Ethan refusing to stay seated in class. The story unfolds from the perspective of five students who learn from this incident that it is best to protest within the system. These students use Invention Day as an opportunity to channel their energy about these topics that they are passionate about. These relatable characters share their realistic experience in 7th grade and everything that goes with it. It is a very inspirational story that weaves in humor, relationships, friendship, perseverance, and standing up for what you believe in even if it seems like it won’t make a difference. This story’s message makes this a must read for all middle grade students.

Reviewed by: Sheila Ruh

Service Projects

Prairie Area Reading Council Supports the Southern Illinois Reads Book Festival

Prairie Area Reading Council is a proud sponsor of the Southern Illinois Reads Book Festival that took place on Saturday, March 10th in Du Quoin, Illinois. There were fifteen Illinois Reads authors sharing their stories with many families and volunteers who attended. There were wonderful activities as well, including making glow in the dark creepy underwear, learning about wheat and the different kinds of popcorn in Illinois, and even acting out the book Aberdeen. A wonderful time was had by all. Many thanks to our very own PARC member, Tammy Potts, who is the chair for Illinois Reads and had the vision for this wonderful event six years ago.

PARC Pride

Sheila M. Ruh Awarded Illinois Computer Educators’ (ICE) Administrator/Specialist of the Year.

To be eligible for this prestigious award, the applicant must have initiated and supported technological contributions in a variety of areas. Among Sheila’s contributions are: Media Specialist in area public schools for the last 12 years; past president of ICE (Cold); treasurer of ICE Cold.

In addition, Sheila’s technology contributions extend to her work with IRC. She is currently IRC’s Media in Education Chair, facilitates IRC’s monthly Wednesday Webinars and has presented at a myriad of IRC’s State Conferences. Finally, due to her extensive technological contributions to IRC, Sheila received IRC’s Service Award. An active member and officer of Prairie Area Reading Council, Sheila is passionate about using technology to improve instruction, foster innovation, and promote information literacy with teachers and students and searches constantly for new ways to bring technology to the teachers and students of Illinois.

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PARC Pride

Congratulations to our Prairie Area Reading Council member, Amy Quattrone, Assistant Principal at Westmont Junior High School, Westmont, IL, who has been named the 2018 Illinois Assistant Principal of the Year. The award recognizes Assistant Principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community. The Assistant Principal of the Year winner was selected from a pool of region nominees provided by the 21 Regions of the Illinois Principals Association. Ms. Quattrone will be recognized at the IPA’s annual Education Leaders Fall Conference in October 2018 and will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Many congratulations to Amy for receiving this wonderful award.
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Teaching Resources - Nicole deVerdier

Teachers! Check out this popular website for some fresh, new ideas!


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to your own desktop to use as you wish.

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.