August 2016
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Expiration Date:  
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In This Issue
Website Links
Dates to Remember

2016 IRC Conference
Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2016
Peoria, Illinois

Future Dates of the Annual IRC Conference
October 5-7, 2017
October 4-6, 2018
October 3-5, 2019
October 1-3, 2020
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
IRC Wired Wednesday Webinars: Unlocking Opportunities  throughout  2016 - 2017
By the Illinois Reading Council
The Illinois Reading Council is excited to offer the FREE 2016-2017 Wired Wednesday Webinar series on " Unlocking Opportunities" for IRC members only.  IRC members can receive 1 PD hour for participating in each "live" webinar.  Otherwise, members will be able to watch the recorded webinars at another time.  The first webinar is planned for:

7:00 p.m.  
Unlocking Opportunities through Disciplinary Literacies
with Michael Manderino 
  • AbstractDisciplinary literacies offer opportunities to build the capacities of young people to be able to critically consume, and construct knowledge in the content areas. The promise of disciplinary literacy is grounded in the opportunities for young people to become more independent in their knowledge construction. This webinar will focus on the promises and possibilities that disciplinary literacies instruction holds for students.  Key elements of disciplinary literacies instruction that include instructional design and assessment will be explored. Approaches for bridging content area literacy instruction with disciplinary literacies instruction are discussed in terms of beliefs, texts, habits of thinking and practice, and ways of communicating that are unique to the disciplines
  • Bio: Dr. Michael Manderino is an assistant professor in the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education and the acting co-director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy at Northern Illinois University. He teaches courses in adolescent literacy, literacy research, and literacy leadership. His research focuses on disciplinary and digital literacies in adolescent contexts and disciplinary literacy coaching. Michael has co-authored two books, Content Area Learning: Bridges to Disciplinary Literacy and Collaborative Coaching for Disciplinary Literacy: Strategies for Teaching Grades 6-12. Michael has published articles on disciplinary and digital literacy in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and Voices in the Middle. He also works closely with school districts to implement disciplinary literacy. 
Register today for the webinar to be held on September 14th!

Future webinars will be:

October 12, 2016
Formative Assessment in a Brain-Compatible Classroom: How Do We Really Know They're Learning with Marcia Tate 
November 9, 2016
Unlocking Opportunities through Family Literacy with Patricia Edwards 
December 14, 2016
Unlocking Opportunities through Brain-Friendly Instruction with David Sousa 
January 11, 2017
Unlocking Opportunities through the 2017 Illinois Reads Books with Becky Anderson 
February 8, 2017
What Matters Most - Critical Practices for Improving Reading with Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst 
March 8, 2017
Unlocking Opportunities through Classroom Libraries: Promoting the Joy and Power of Reading with Maria Walther
April 12, 2017
Unlocking Opportunities through Reading, Thinking, and Writing about Nonfiction with Nancy Steineke 
May 10, 2017
Unlocking Opportunities:   Words Needed for Comprehension with Laura Robb 
June 14, 2017
Unlocking Opportunities by Creating Transformational Literacy Communities with Pam Allyn 

IRC Book Club 2.0
By the Illinois Reading Council

Read, reflect, and respond to Reading Nonfiction:  Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst.  This nine-week course, beginning October 16, will focus on principles and strategies presented in Beers and Probst's text that will help students comprehend nonfiction text.  Participants who complete all assignments are eligible to receive 15 PD clock hours at the conclusion of the book club.  The expected time commitment for participants is approximately 1.5-2.0 hours/week.    

Required for participation:
  • Gmail address (free at  The Book Club uses Google Sites.  
  • Text:  Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst.  Text available through Heinemann (
Register online by October 9, 2016 to participate in the book club. Registration is FREE for IRC Members.  The cost for non-members is $45, which includes IRC membership for one year.  Book club participants also have the opportunity to attend sessions with Kylene Beers and Robert Probst at the 2016 IRC Conference.

PLEASE NOTE:  Conference registration and cost of book is not included. 
2016 Summer Book Club
By Patricia Tylka

This summer, 111 IRC members participated in IRC's online book club, reading Kyle ne Beer s and Bob Probst's newest publication Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies .  Beers and Probst will be featured speakers at the 49th Annual IRC Convention, Reading: Unlocking Opportunities (September 29 - October 1, 2016). Beers and Probst will also present the IRC Wired Wednesday Webinar on February 8, 2017.   
Club members rea d Beers and Probst's text, reflected on   the ir reading by posting on their pages in Google Sites, and responded to each  other's posts durin g the nine-week session,  earning 15  professional development hours . This fall, the book club will offer a second  se ssi on. You c an register by October 9 at .

What is the value of participating in the IRC Book Club? Here is what some of our members had to say: 

International Literacy Association Resources
By the Illinois Reading Council

International Literacy Day on September 8, 2016
International Literacy Day (ILD) is September 8, 2106.  For ILD, the International Literacy Association (ILA) can help you advance literacy in your classroom with a FREE Activity Kit.  The kit will help your students learn about another country, Jamaica, a small island nation with a rich history and colorful culture.

ILA's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Toolkit
The ESSA Toolkit is designed to help you learn about the essential components of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The toolkit is designed to provide an overview of the updated law and a summary of the major provisions organized by title as well as an in-depth analysis of portions most pertinent to literacy instruction.
CIRP Offers Stipends for Full-Time Education Majors to attend the 2016 IRC Conference
By the College Instructors of Reading Professionals (CIRP)

The College Instructors of Reading Professionals offers ten $75 stipends to full-time education majors each year to support their attendance at the Illinois Reading Council Conference. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to apply.
Winners are recognized during the CIRP Reception that will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at the conference. Click here to access the application for the stipend. The deadline for submitting the application is September 9, 2016. 
Literacy Links
By the IRC Educational Media Committee

Take a moment to review some of the Literacy Links provided by the IRC Educational Media Committee to help Illinois educators in today's classrooms. These links and past links will be available on the IRC Website under "Literacy Links" on the homepage.
Comprehensive Resource
This website provides engaging lessons that begin with a mystery that hooks the students. This is followed with an unforgettable story told with stunning images and videos and punctuated with opportunities for discussion. Every lesson concludes with simple hands-on activities designed to use supplies you already have (or are easy to get), plans and videos for Science lessons that are aligned to the NGSS Science standards.

TRAILS is a knowledge assessment with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills based on 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade standards. This Web-based system was developed to provide an easily accessible and flexible tool for school librarians and teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in the information-seeking skills of their students.
Vizia is a tool that makes videos more interactive and engaging. It allows for asking questions and collecting feedback through the videos. This would be a great resource for the flipped classroom
Where Have We Been and Where Are We with Guided Reading Practices?
By Michael P. Ford, Author of Guided Reading:  What's New, and What's Next?
Excerpt from Chapter One

By selecting the use of the term "guided" to describe these reading groups, instruction is less about teachers transmitting information and more about teachers coaching the students. This is a critical difference in conceptualizing small group instruction. In fact, Taylor and her colleagues have suggested that it may be the most critical difference. In their study, schools were identified as least effective, moderately effective, and most effective at improving reading performance and achievement by traditional measures when serving similar students. Coaching during reading was the one practice that seemed to occur with significantly greater frequency in the most effective schools (Taylor, Pearson, Clark & Walpole, 1999). If we also look at the earliest gradual release of responsibility models, demonstrations were described as a form of explicit instruction in which the teacher had more responsibility than the learner (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983). In guided instruction, the learner shares the responsibility with the teacher. Sometimes the teacher leads the students, and other times the students lead the teacher.

The best metaphor for thinking about the instruction during guided reading would be scaffolding. Teachers would take time to know where their students are at and where they need to be in order to build scaffolds that support the students as they move from one point to the other. Scaffolding would require teachers to plan sensitive, responsive instruction to provide the bridge between those two points. Boyle and Peregoy (1998) listed five criteria defining literacy scaffolds. Scaffolds: 
  • Are applied to reading and writing activities aimed at functional, meaningful communication found in entire texts;
  • Make use of language and discourse patterns that repeat themselves and are therefore predictable;
  • Provide a model, offered by the teacher or by peers, for comprehending and providing particular written language patterns;  
  • Support students in comprehending and producing written language at a level slightly beyond their competence in the absence of the scaffold;
  • And are temporary and may be dispensed with when the student is ready to work without them.
In other words, we could potentially prevent the return to problems of the past by moving to a type of small group instruction that is based less on skill-coverage and more on strategy-based constructivism as the key focus. We would shift from just covering materials, to instead teaching learners. Or as Burkins and Croft (2010) suggested, we would be holding guided reading sessions not just teaching guided reading lessons. The key objective is that teachers would be less concerned about covering lessons and more concerned in using the sessions to help learners become more proficient as readers.

Learn more at or locate the new professional resource by clicking the following link:

Guided Reading: What's New, and What's Next?