April 2015
Membership #:           
Expiration Date:  
Local Councils:                         
In This Issue
Website Links
Dates to Remember

2015 IRC Conference
October 1-3, 2015
Peoria, Illinois

Registration and
Housing Opens

April 15, 2015

Future Dates of the Annual IRC Conference
Sept. 29-Oct 1, 2016
October 5-7, 2017
Peoria, Illinois

Welcome to iCommunicate, IRC's monthly e-newsletter!  Here you will learn, share, and enjoy information on timely topics and cutting edge projects. We'd love to hear your thoughts.  Please contact us with your comments, suggestions, and ideas at icommunicate@illinoisreadingcouncil.org.   
2015 IRC Conference, Passport to Possibilities, from October 1 - 3, 2015 in Peoria
By the Illinois Reading Council

At the 2015 IRC Conference, the Illinois Reading Council welcomes you to learn from a number of diverse featured speakers who will help teachers, specialists, and administrators from every grade level and content area.  We are pleased to announce this year's speakers:
Take a moment to peruse the online Preliminary Program at www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org.

Or, watch your mailbox for the Preliminary Program to arrive by mail very soon.  For more information, visit the conference website at www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org.

IRC Book Club
By the Illinois Reading Council
Join educators from around the state in an online book club!

Choice of two books: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess or The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.
  • Sign up by June 30: Syllabus will be sent to registered participants.
  • Check in 1 due July 15: Read first 1/3 of book and complete the discussion questions.
  • Check in 2 due July 30: Respond to others' discussion answers.
  • Check in 3 due August 15: Read second 1/3 of book and complete discussion questions.
  • Check in 4 due August 30: Respond to second set of others' discussion answers.
  • Check in 5 due September 15: Read final 1/3 of book and complete discussion questions.
  • Check in 6 due September 30: Respond to third set of others' discussion answers.
If you participate in all assignments, you will be eligible to receive 15 clock hours for each book.  No partial clock hour credit will be given. Registration for the book club is FREE for IRC MEMBERS. The cost for non-members is $45 for the book club, which includes IRC membership for one year. All book club participants can attend sessions with Dave Burgess and/or Donalyn Miller at the 2015 IRC Conference. Conference registration and cost of book are not included.

Register online by June 30th at www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org!

Writing in Illinois Matters!  Writing an Opinion Paper in Grades 6-12
By Roberta Sejnost, ILA State Coordinator


In the last iCommunicate, we looked at how teachers can help students in Grades K-5 write an opinion paper.  In this issue, we will focus on the fact that at grades 6-12, standard #1 of New Illinois Learning Standards requires students to write arguments to make a point or support a claim and a counterclaim, and substantiate both with reasons and/or evidence. More importantly, one must remember that arguments may have a variety of purposes, and may not be aimed at winning.  In addition, students should be made aware of the basic vocabulary terms that are relevant to argument writing and noted in the standards.  They are

As noted in the last article, one of the best ways to help students hone their ability to write effective opinion is to expose them to mentor texts. Effective mentor texts engage and inspire students, but, above all, they move them forward in their writing because they give them a picture of the type of writing they are about to engage in.  In the following list retrieved from http://www.ilwritingmatters.org are some mentor texts to help students along their path to writing effective opinions.


Once students have been exposed to mentor texts, the next logical step is to provide some graphic organizers to help students organize their thinking.  Here is one again retrieved from http://www.ilwritingmatters.org

While opinion/argument writing is the focus of Standard #1 of the New Illinois Learning Standards for English/Language Arts, the focus for Standard #2 is Informative/Explanatory writing.  Be sure to check out iCommunicate next month to see resources for teaching Informative/Explanatory writing in Grades K-5.  And, above all, check out http://www.ilwritingmatters.org, a website developed by ISBE's ELA content area specialists Jill Brown and Kathy Rhodus, to provide tools and resources in our mission to realize that Writing Matters in Illinois!



Culham, R. (2014)   The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
Gallagher, K. (2011).   Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts

Illinois State Board of Education. "Illinois Writing Matters." www.ilwritingmatters.org. 2014


Bonus Webinar for IRC Members  
By the Illinois Reading Council 

The Illinois Reading Council is pleased to offer a FREE Bonus Webinar for IRC members only!  To register or view past webinars, visit http://www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org/wiredwednesdaywebinars.html.


WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2015    

7:00 p.m.  

Linking Technology, Text and Literacy with Annette Smith   

  • This session will enhance literacy instruction, particularly writing, speaking and listening skills using primary source materials from  TeachingBooks.net
  • All attendees will have full access to all the resources and tools of Teaching Books while we guide you through the resources.  Please bring 1-2 books you are using with students.  Access will continue for two weeks following the webinar.
  • Strengthen writing, speaking and listening skills and support literacy initiatives using the resources and tools at TeachingBooks.net.
Summer Read and Feed Project
By the Illinois Reading Council
The Illinois Reading Council was asked to participate in the Read and Feed Project in conjunction with the International Literacy Association (formerly IRA) and the National Title One Association. 

Read and Feed is a summer project that will provide literacy activities for students in low income families.  IRC needs your assistance to make this project a success. We are looking for third grade activities that students can take home and complete over the summer.  Activities should be nonfiction and comprehension based.  Activities should also:
  • Be easy to use with minimum parental help;
  • Be ready for duplication;
  • Should contain explicit directions for the student and parent;
  • Provide the answers where needed;
  • Be submitted as a PDF file or Word document, if done electronically;
  • Be copy ready if submitted by snail mail.
All  activities  must  be  received  by   May  15,  2015.  IRC greatly appreciates your help in making this literacy project a success and  for making  a  difference  for  these Illinois students.  For more information about the project or instructions on how to submit an activity, please visit www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org