September 2017
Membership #:           
Expiration Date:  
Local Councils:                         
In This Issue
Website Links
Dates to Remember

2017 IRC Conference
October 5-7, 2017
Peoria, Illinois

Future Dates of the Annual IRC Conference
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 Book Club 2.0 starts October 22, 2017
By the Illinois Reading Council

Did you miss the recent opportunity to join educators from all over the state in an online book club?  Great news!  It isn't too late to choose from one or two books for the Fall 2017 IRC Book Club.
Read, reflect on, and respond to The Reading Strategies Book and/or The Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. These seven-week online discussions, beginning October 22, will be your guide to developing skilled readers and writers as you delve deeply into your choice of 5 goals from the texts.  Participants who complete all assignments will be eligible to receive 15 PD clock hours for each book club.  Each week participants will post ideas about how they can use one of the strategies, then read and respond to three other participants' posts.  Final posts will be completed on December 10.
Required for participation:
Gmail address (free at ). The Book Club uses Google Sites which does not work with Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc.
Texts: The Reading Strategies Book and/or The Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. Both texts are available through Heinemann (
Register by October 15, 2017 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 Jennifer Serravallo at the 2017 IRC Conference.   PLEASE NOTE:  Conference registration and cost of book are not included.
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 Resources

SAS Curriculum Pathways is a free online resource that provides interactive lessons, videos, audio tutorials, and apps for literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and Spanish. Resources can be searched by state standard, a keyword, a subject category, or a level. This is a great resource to use for differentiating for your students.

Interactive Resources is a great resource with many free interactive activities, quizzes, games and more. This resource also has many tools to use such as countdown timers, name generators, SMS text generator between two characters, a headline creator, and much more.
Web 2.0 Resources
Little Bird Tales is a free web-based tool that allows students to create stories and record their voices to narrate them. There are free templates available to use as well. There is a bank of stories created by other students that are available to the public to enjoy.
Examining Race and Literacy
Part 2:  How Do I Teach/Lead?
By Tinaya York
In Part II of this series, we will take a look at explicit and implicit biases that may perpetuate the predictability of who succeeds and fails.  This will be an inward look at outward manifestations of what we believe are best practices.  Really asking "Is the way I enter into the classroom or in the school building having a negative impact on student outcomes?"  The foundation of this analysis is coming from Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT has its foundation in law as folks began to question how a system steeped in racism could ever work fairly for all. It pushes us to call out standard practices that negatively impact children of color.
According to Delgado and Stefanic (2001), the basic tenets of CRT are:
  1. Racism is common.   
  2. Racism is difficult to cure or address because it is common and is used as a means to uphold the interest of white elites and working class people. 
  3. Race and races are products of social thought and relations. 
  4. Differential racialization is an occurrence where societies racialize minority groups at different times for different purposes. Groups are used and portrayed to fit the needs of the dominant society. In addition the reality of the human intersectionality is often dismissed. Humans do not have one identity.   
  5. Counter-narrative/"legal storytelling" is important to the discussion of people of color. People of color have a unique voice and their perspective on race and experiences with racism come with a certain status. They have lived experiences and these stories are important to the understanding of race and racism.  
What does CRT have to do with leadership and literacy? It offers a framework for analyzing how we show up each day through the lens of race. By examining the "race effects" of school practices, policies, and structure (Lynn, 2006), we can potentially uncover the deleterious effects of education on Black and Brown children's literacy achievement and experiences in schools. Moreover, we can look to see the extent to which our policy, procedures, and practices are creating predictability of who succeeds and who fails at literacy.
As you examine your leadership/teaching ask yourself:
  • What assumptions am I making about what students know?
  • Am I OVER helping because I believe these children just don't get it?
  • Do I think about how my words and actions impact students' disposition towards learning?
  • Do I believe that Black children will always underperform?
  • Do I entertain conversations when my colleagues start saying, "kids can't, won't, don't?"
  • Do I help teachers unpack their biases as part of our school-wide work?
  • Do I stand up for equity?
Write out the answers to these questions and others that may come up so you can always go back and be honest about your leadership and how you show up in your school/classrooms. You have to put in intentional effort to look inward to discover our own biases because racism is so hard to address. To do this work you will have to lead with your heart and your head. You will have to stand in a position of vulnerability and truth. You will have to ask HOW do I teach and lead. Do not start this work outwardly until you start with yourself. This work can be very painful. Prepare yourself for anger, sadness, and tears. But don't be afraid to start.
Examine the policies, procedures, and school practices that you are being asked to implement and determine if they are hindering the literacy development of our children. Until we do this, we are saying that we accept the predictability of who succeeds and who fails and this is no longer acceptable.
In the final part of this series, you will hear from people who help school leaders and teachers look at equity and from individuals who are looking at literacy through the lens of race.
Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2001). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press.
Lynn, M. (2006). Race, culture, and the education of African Americans. Educational Theory, 56(1), 107-118 .
Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools by Amanda E. Lewis & John B. Diamond
Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education by Marvin Lynn & Adrienne D. Dixson